Rice Expert Alert: Numbers tell the story in Medicaid expansion debate, Baker Institute expert says


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Numbers tell the story in Medicaid expansion debate, Baker Institute expert says
Marks: Rhetoric must not to get in the way of covering 1.5 million uninsured Texans

HOUSTON – (Feb. 28, 2013) – As the Texas Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry consider whether to accept the billions of dollars available to the state to expand Medicaid coverage in Texas, a health care expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy advocates that decision-makers should look at the hard numbers and not let rhetoric get in the way of covering 1.5 million uninsured Texans.

Elena Marks, the Baker Institute’s scholar in health policy, has written a new Baker Institute blog post, “Should Texas Expand Medicaid? The Numbers Tell the Story,” that summarizes the key facts and figures at play in this debate. For example:

  • First: Texas’ ranking for the percentage of residents without health insurance.
  • 6 million: The number of Texans without health insurance.
  • 1.5 million: The number of Texans who would gain insurance under the Medicaid expansion.
  • $100 billion: Federal dollars available to Texas for Medicaid expansion, 2014-23.
  • $90.2 billion: Benefit to Texas economy due to increased productivity resulting from better health, in 2012 dollars, 2014-23.

“Legislators should use this data to make decisions about Medicaid expansion,” Marks said. “Our health and human services professionals worked with the federal government to devise the 2011 Medicaid Transformation Waiver, avoiding political bickering to arrive at a win-win solution. We can do it again. Too much is at stake for ideology or Texas versus Washington rhetoric to get in the way of covering 1.5 million uninsured Texans and generating widespread economic benefits at the same time.”

Marks is chair of the board of directors of Community Health Choice, a nonprofit organization serving more than 200,000 members. She is an attorney with a master’s degree in public health and currently works as a consultant to the health care industry. From 2004 through 2009, Marks served as the director of health and environmental policy for the city of Houston.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Marks. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.


Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

Marks biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/emarks.

Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.