John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Last week, the Biden administration withdrew Texas’s Medicaid waiver. This week, Republican Sen. John Cornyn responded in, well, unkind.

He did so by placing a hold on the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. She happens to be Biden’s choice to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Texas Republicans are less than thrilled that the Section 1115 waiver recently was removed, as it extended Medicaid funding to operators through most of 2030. They are claiming — and perhaps rightfully so — that what the White House really is trying to do here is expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

And therein lies the rub. As most of our readers know, the ACA largely is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. What’s happening in the Lone Star State basically is a battle in the service of that larger war.

Naturally, each side is claiming the other is in the wrong.

“Senator Cornyn placed the hold after the Biden Administration decided to play political chicken with uninsured Texans’ healthcare,” a Cornyn spokesperson told The Hill.

The Biden administration countered there were procedural grounds for canceling the waiver, adding that the Trump administration skipped a public comment period.

For now, there is not much Brooks-LaSure can do, except perhaps be patient. Should Cornyn keep the hold in play, he’s on borrowed time. The fact is, the Democrats have enough votes to eventually move the nomination forward. That’s an action they almost certain to take.

Sadly, what we have here is really yet another example of political theater. For both sides, this is more about scoring points with the base than anything else. As for the many thousands of Texans and operators who may get caught in the crossfire? Oh, well.

This whole kabuki dance would look small and petty if the nation’s most powerful political class didn’t have more important matters to sort out. Good thing that’s not the case.