Submitted by Mary McClure
The Texas House of Representatives approved a groundbreaking measure Monday night by Representative Jeff Leach that will limit the expansion of Medicaid in Texas under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Leach’s proposal, passed with a vote of 87-57, was included as an Amendment on Senate Bill 7, which significantly reforms the Texas Medicaid Program by improving the program’s ability to assess the needs of current enrollees by implementing a more efficient and quality-centered program. Under current law, the Texas Health & Human Services Commissioner has full authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval. Leach’s Amendment closes this loophole by ensuring that future Governors and Commissioners are constrained by statute from expanding the Texas Medicaid Program without the consent of the Texas Legislature.
Representative Leach said, “An issue as far-reaching and consequential as Medicaid expansion is far too important a policy decision to be made by one person. It is the obligation and responsibility of the Legislature to make these decisions in our state. Texans have made it clear that expanding Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not in the best interest of our state and I laud Governor Perry for taking an active role against expanding this broken system. At the end of the day, the answer to the problem is reform, not expansion.”
The Leach amendment is strongly supported by numerous conservative statewide leaders, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Arlene Wohlgemuth, Executive Director and Director of the Foundation’s Center for Healthcare, stated “The House passage of SB 7 with the successful inclusion of Amendment 26 — the Leach Amendment to prohibit state participation in the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion — is a heartening sign that Texans are determined to resist Washington, D.C.’s ambitions for ever-greater control over our lives and economy. We urge the Senate to affirm the Leach Amendment, and send a unified message that Texas rejects the false promise of Medicaid run on D.C.’s terms.”
Representative Leach serves House District 67 in the Texas House of Representatives, representing portions of Plano, Allen, Richardson and Dallas in Collin County. He serves on the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, the House Committee on Urban Affairs, and the House Committee on Rules and Resolutions, as well as the Policy Committee for the Texas House Republican Caucus.