FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2013
AUSTIN, TX — Today, State Senator Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown) filed Senate Joint Resolution 61 and Senate Bill 1808, legislation that will protect Texas taxpayers from being "double taxed" at both the federal and local level, in the event that any expansion of the state's Medicaid services are negotiated and agreed to.
SJR 61 and SB 1808 call for an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would require state agencies to report on any local cost savings realized by expanding Medicaid, and would require those funds to be returned to Texas taxpayers in the form of a tax rate reduction. The tax cut would only take effect if Texas were to negotiate, and agree to, some form of a Texas-based Medicaid solution, and would need the approval of Texas voters in a statewide constitutional election.
"As I've stated on numerous occasions, I am steadfastly opposed to any expansion of the Medicaid program in its current form," said Schwertner. "Our current Medicaid system is fundamentally broken and clearly unsustainable over the long term. However, if the federal government were to provide Texas with the flexibility to design a system that's right for our citizens, it's only prudent that we look at passing along those savings to Texas taxpayers."
Proponents of expanding the state's Medicaid program have argued that costs associated with treating the state's uninsured in the emergency room are currently being borne by local counties and hospital districts; a cost which they say is then passed on to the local taxpayer. They further claim that accepting the federal funds associated with Medicaid expansion could largely absorb these costs.
"Ultimately, we're talking about our own federal tax dollars, taxes we already pay, that would be used to alleviate these expenses," said Schwertner. "If this is really about reducing costs and saving people money, then it makes absolutely no sense for Texans to be taxed twice for the same services. This legislation would protect Texans from double taxation."
In 2012, Dr. Charles Schwertner was first elected to serve the citizens of Senate District 5, a ten-county region of central and east Texas which includes Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker and Williamson counties. In addition to his role in the Texas Legislature, Dr. Schwertner serves as the managing partner of Georgetown Orthopedics; a medical clinic that provides care to over 20,000 patients each year. He and his wife Belinda, an obstetrician/gynecologist, live in Georgetown with their three sons: Carson, Zachary, and Matthew.