I have a piece about conservative shadow group ALEC just published in the Summer 2011 issue of Ms. Magazine, wherein I detail the connections between uber-corporate-funded ALEC and Texas lawmakers, who used ALEC’s “model legislation” to vote in block grant Medicaid funding. This will enable Texas legislators to reduce Medicaid enrollment and care to hundreds of thousands of people–mainly women and seniors:
ALEC model legislation leaked to Ms. magazine gives states a blueprint for receiving federal Medicaid funds as “block grants” rather than entitlements. An entitlement guarantees coverage to people who are eligible; block grants are a fixed “block” of money, letting states cut off previously eligible recipients or freeze enrollment. Since Medicaid helps low-income pregnant women, the elderly in nursing homes (most of whom are women and two-thirds of whom are Medicaid-funded) and disabled children and adults, you can imagine the consequences: a 90- year-old woman evicted from her nursing home, an autistic child no longer given aid, a young pregnant woman unable to afford prenatal care.
The state closest to passing such block-grant legislation is Texas,where a Republican lawmaker has proposed two bills that follow ALEC’s Medicaid agenda. The first of state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s bills would allocate Texas’ Medicaid funding as block grants; her second would allow Texas to opt out of Obama’s health-care reform regu- lations entirely. If passed, both require federal approval.
An ALEC representative told Ms. via e-mail that it has had “no involvement” with Texas’ attempt to defund Medicaid. But Kolkhorst was listed in 2003 as a member of ALEC’s “Commerce and Economic Development Task Force,”and she drew inspiration for her legislation from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative nonprofit with longstanding ties to ALEC.