Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Monday that expanding Medicaid will worsen health care for the poor, despite the fact that the state has the highest uninsured rate in the country.
"Our friends who are saying they want health care do not realize that expanding Medicaid will worsen health care options for the most vulnerable among us in Texas," he said at a news conference at the state Capitol Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Obamacare expanded Medicaid to cover those making up to 133 percent of the poverty line, but the Supreme Court struck down the penalty that would have deprived states of their federal funding if they do not participate in the expansion. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that by 2019, Texas' Medicaid rolls would increase by 45 percent -- adding almost 1.4 million people who previously did not have insurance -- and state spending would only increase by 3 percent from baseline. The federal government would cover 95 percent of the costs from 2014 to 2019.
Medicaid has lower reimbursement rates, which some doctors reject, but 58 percent of Texas doctors accept at least some patients, according to a 2012 survey.
In a radio interview Monday, Cruz said Medicaid expansion could lead to "violent criminals" being let out of prisons. "If you want state funds to provide for our prisons and law enforcement to incarcerate violent criminals and keep them off the streets, you should be glad we're not signing up for this Medicaid expansion, because every state that does so is going to be regretting it mightily because the pressure is going to crowd out just about every other priority in the budget," he said.