At an estimated population of over 4.3 million people, Harris County is the largest county in the state of Texas, and the third largest in the United States. In population, Harris County is actually larger than 24 states.
With those big numbers come big challenges, especially regarding healthcare costs. Thanks to the belligerence of Republicans in the Texas legislature, Harris County continues to shoulder a massive burden in uncompensated healthcare costs, while large counties in other states have access to new funds under the Affordable Care Act. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, himself a Republican, is now speaking out to let Rick Perry and other Texas politicians know that the politics over the ACA cannot continue. Here’s the story from News92 FM…
Harris County taxpayers right now have to bear the entire cost of paying for indigent healthcare.Ask any property owner in Harris County… their taxes have shot up in the recent years, mostly thanks to a booming economy which increases property values. But what hasn’t improved are the amount of funds available to appropriately combat a growing burden of uncompensated care.
Judge Ed Emmett said the Affordable Care Act could help provide some relief.
Emmett said while certain people at the state can argue about the “benefits or detriments” of the Affordable Care Act, those are our tax dollars in Washington and state law makers need to find a way to bring them back to Texas.
“The tax dollars in Washington, those belong to people here too,” Emmett said. “And so those need to come back to the state of Texas to help us off set some of these property taxes.”
Emmett and other urban county judges from across the state, both Republicans and Democrats, have written to Texas lawmakers urging them to find a solution.
Emmett says during the last legislative session, Harris County missed out being reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars.
“$900 million over a two-year period would have come back to Harris County, of that less than $100 million would have gone to the Harris County Hospital District,” Emmett said.
This is a point on which Judge Emmett agrees with Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis… if elected, they have already promised to make Medicaid Expansion a priority for the upcoming legislative session. Outside of Austin, a bi-partisan coalition is forming to end senseless opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Texas cannot afford to play any more political games, and the politicians that choose to continue do so at their own electoral risk.