SAN ANTONIO - A day after Governor Rick Perry said the federal government can keep its Medicaid expansion money, local Democrats fired back while one local health clinic offered a solution for the uninsured.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Perry’s decision will hurt Texas families and county hospitals.
“You get a ten to one match on your money. I don't know why anyone would turn that down," said Wolff.
By refusing Medicaid expansion funding, Texas is turning down $112 billion from the federal government over the first 10 years of President Obama’s health care plan.
Texas would have to put up $9.5 billion of its own money during that time.
Perry said the plan would cost Texas too much money and would be “socializing health care”.
According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities, the expansion plan would provide an addition 1.5 million adults and nearly 600,000 children in Texas with Medicaid coverage.
If the state rejects the federal funding as Perry said it will do, most of those would be left uninsured.
However, the founder of the Faith Family Clinic, Jim Young, said the uninsured can still receive affordable health care.
Young’s two non-profit San Antonio clinics serve people who don't have any health care coverage.
Young said in San Antonio that's more than 370,000 people.
Most are like Debbie Mammel. She’s a working mom who makes too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford health insurance.
“I’m kind of in-between,” she said. “This has been a wonderful solution.”
At the Faith Family Clinic, office visits cost between $20 - $55 and include extras like X-rays and lab work.
The staff is made up of a few paid physicians and nurses but relies on more than a hundred volunteers.
Dr. John Marshal, a retired physician, is one of the few paid staff members. He, however, works at the clinic full time but is paid for just two days. He volunteers the rest of the week.
The two-year-old clinic has recently started offering small businesses, unable to afford health care insurance, a way to provide health coverage to its employees.
For $50 a month per employee, an employer can buy a membership to the clinic.
With the exceptions of surgeries and emergency room visits, a membership covers all of an employee’s medical expenses.
“We are meeting a need in the community,” said Young. “We are providing health care to the hard working uninsured.”
For more information about the Faith Family Clinic, visit its website at faithfamilyclinic.org.