What is Medicaid?

You might ask: “What is Medicaid?” And, apparently, so did a member of the Texas House–in the middle of a House and Human Services committee meeting. According an Austin-American Stateman blog, Representative Gary Elkins asked that question during a committee hearing. “I know I hear it — I really don’t know what it is. I know that’s a big shock to everybody here in the audience, OK.”

As the Statesman’s Corrie MacLaggan points out, Medicaid is a health insurance program for people with low incomes and disabilities. The program is a partnership between the federal and state government that accounts for about a quarter of the Texas state budget. More detailed information is available from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

We all have gaps in our knowledge and forget things from time to time. Let’s hope this is the case. However, it does raise questions about our part-time legislature. Many Texans prefer having the state run by amateur part-timers because of their distrust of professional politicians and fear of what the Legislature would get into if it were in session all year. Having those who rule over us return to live and work among us can provide a dose of humility and reality check.

However, reality can escape even the most ordinary of us and the down side of having amateur legislatures is that they will act like amateurs.

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