03 October 2014
Testing one person for Ebola costs $244 dollars in resources according to WHO (World Health Organization), not including the price to bury your body and sanitize your household. Unfortunately there isn't a vaccine. But one could be available for trials in 2015.
Although that's not soon enough for the Ebola scare of 2014, the Affordable Care Act does require insurance plans, including Medicaid, to pay for existing vaccines. Perfect for the upcoming flu season! Medicaid-eligible families don't have to wait to sign up by the next open enrollment either, which falls on November 15.
American Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan allegedly contracted the virus in Liberia by helping an infected neighbor into a taxi so she could find treatment. Good thing the virus won't spread by altruism where Duncan landed: Texas, whose Governor Rick Perry passed up Medicaid expansion. He didn't even offer a condolence Uber to the free clinic.
While Perry governs one of 19 states who declined Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, he at least had the prescience to complete the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) training for Ebola testing, diagnosis, and treatment in August. In a press release Texas touted it's one of only 13 states with this accreditation.
Health officials in Los Angeles County reported they're ready to handle all Ebola cases, noting they've tested and quarantined one Inglewood patient who may be stricken.
Flu season is just around the corner like Obamacare's next open enrollment. Medicaid, private, and Covered California insurance pays for immunization. So why would any governor ignore Medicaid expansion and deny free vaccines for: the disabled, foster children, pregnant women, the elderly, low income families, and children?
When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, Medicaid laws differed in each state. To become uniform, Obamacare required states expand Medicaid eligibility by lowering the income level qualification to 138% or below of the Federal Poverty Level. Since it would cover more eligible people, Medicaid would cost more. Perry's excuse to dodge Medicaid expansion was the state can't afford it.
But 100% of Medicaid expansion is paid by the federal government for the first 3 years down to 90% by 2020 and on. If Perry meant the future Texas can't afford Medicaid expansion, then he's risking the 1 million Texans eligible for Medicaid in 2014 because he's afraid of a little investment in the future. And I mean a little.
Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office showed Medicaid expansion would only cost 1.6 percent more over the next decade for those states who accept it versus those states who refuse it.
Your federal tax dollars are distributed to Medicaid in every state. By refusing Obamacare's expansion, Texas declined $9.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds which it helped pay for.
Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country at 25%. It probably has the highest number of angry taxpayers too.
Center for Disease Control estimates there are 100 at-risk people in Texas who made contact with Duncan when he showed signs of Ebola. That means 25 may not even have health insurance.
Would accepting Medicaid expansion help Ebola victims afford treatment? Probably not. The government will likely pick up the tab one way or another to keep Ebola from spreading.
If Rick Perry is so concerned about future Texas' well being, he should expand Medicaid like California and vaccinate the population from the next epidemic.
Can't wait to get free vaccines for the next trending virus? Everyone not eligible for Medicaid must wait until November 15 to sign up for health insurance, which will cover the costs for immunizations. Just don't commit any good deeds or visit Texas until then.