Medicaid

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Statewide funding cuts to therapies for young children with developmental delays go into effect today. Some state lawmakers have vowed to reverse cuts during the legislative session next year. But until that reversal happens, Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) providers are going to have a hard time keeping their doors open.

Casey Chapman Ross/Texas Tribune

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said Tuesday that lawmakers in the Capitol’s lower chamber would seek to restore funding for disabled children’s in-home therapy services during the upcoming legislative session, potentially reversing the state's course in an emotionally fraught, year-long legal battle.

“It did not work, and it will be addressed in the supplemental budget,” Straus said of the payment cuts. He said the cuts were “well intentioned” but that “maybe they were a mistake.”

Callie Richmond

From the Texas Tribune: More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas quietly announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks.

Michael Stravato, via Texas Tribune

Believe it or not, Mexico's family planning policies are more progressive than the United States' in one pretty big way.

According to a new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project based at UT-Austin, Mexican-born women who recently gave birth have an easier time obtaining long-acting birth control like intrauterine devices (IUDs)  in Mexico than in the United States.

Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

Whoever wins this presidential election will have a lot of big decisions to make within their first year in office. One of those decisions is what to do about states, like Texas, that haven’t expanded Medicaid to more low income people under the Affordable Care Act.


AnToonz/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It all started with a battle over information: In one corner was the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. In the other were Texas lawmakers.

The commission holds the details of the state’s Medicaid contracts with large pharmaceutical companies, which show how much the state is spending on medicine. The commission assured lawmakers the state is getting a good deal, but the legislators wanted to see for themselves. In particular, they wanted to know the amount the state was getting back in rebates for name-brand medicine.

 


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Late last week, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit about whether decreasing Medicaid reimbursements for programs providing therapies to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays in Texas is legal, which means cuts are likely imminent.


Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

 A significant cut to the amount of money Texas pays therapists who treat children with disabilities was finally cleared to take effect — more than one year after state lawmakers originally ordered it — when the Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a lawsuit over the budget cut's legality.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas lawmakers on Thursday revisited the fate of a $150 million cut in state funding to Medicaid payments for disabled children’s therapy made in 2015 — though the outcome of that cut remains uncertain as a legal battle over its legitimacy remains before the Texas Supreme Court.


Texas Tribune

A new poll finds broad opposition in Texas to one of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises.

Pixabay/Brett Hondow (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Anyone who does regular grocery shopping knows that in many cases, you pay for the name. From bologna to fabric softener, it’s usually cheaper to go with the generic over the name-brand.

That adage is definitely true with prescription medicine.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested the cuts were imminent and would be going into effect July 15. Due to a Texas Supreme Court ruling, those cuts are temporarily on hold. We regret the error.

Groups who provide therapy to children with developmental issues are slated to receive less money from the state for those services. That’s thanks to a slew of cuts approved by the Texas legislature last year. For now those cuts are temporarily on hold, thanks to a Texas Supreme Court ruling last week.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Oklahoma officials are seriously considering expanding Medicaid in that state under the Affordable Care Act. That means all of the states surrounding Texas – including New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana – could soon have expanded Medicaid programs. During a meeting at the Capitol yesterday, advocates said it’s an opportunity for Texas officials to revisit this issue back home.


Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Now that Texas knows it will receive a Medicaid waiver for uncompensated care, state lawmakers are no longer on a tight deadline for figuring out what to do about its large uninsured population.

The federal government will continue to give the state billions of dollars to reimburse Texas hospitals to pay for care provided to people without insurance. But the deal only pushed the deadline back a year to December 2017, and advocates hope lawmakers will use that time to debate Medicaid expansion.


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep some federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, a relief to health care providers that feared losing the funds over state leaders' refusal to provide health insurance to low-income adults. 


Michael Stravato, via Texas Tribune

Starting this morning, Texas lawmakers will spend two days discussing the state’s Medicaid program. On the docket is a look at services and ways to cut costs, but there's a big question looming in the discussion of whether a big chunk of that Medicaid money will even be there next year.

Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

Hospitals around the state are in a serious time crunch. Administrators are currently drafting their budgets for the next fiscal year, but a big chunk of federal funds they’ve relied on in years past isn’t a sure thing this time around.


Texas Tribune

Pretty much everyone on Medicaid here in Texas receives care through a Medicaid Managed Care Program. It’s a big program serving the state’s most vulnerable populations, but there are some big problems. Mostly, there aren’t enough doctors taking part in the program to help serve these populations, and state lawmakers are trying to address that. 


Image credit Sarah Montgomery/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this week, as the state of Texas moved to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Medicaid program, Gov. Greg Abbott hinted there might be more to come.

Tamir Khalifa/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas health officials say they are kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state Medicaid program entirely over what they called "acts of misconduct" revealed in undercover videos filmed earlier this year.

Liang Shi for KUT

One of the most conservative groups in Texas is calling on the state to expand Medicaid – a government-run health care program for low-income people. The Affordable Care Act offers states federal dollars to expand Medicaid, but the U.S. Supreme Court made expansion optional and Texas political leaders have decided not to expand.  

Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Deep cuts to a therapy program for poor and disabled children will not take effect Oct. 1, a state district judge ruled Tuesday afternoon — the second such delay in recent weeks.

Texas Hospitals Fear Feds Might Reduce Medicaid Waiver

Jul 14, 2015
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

We don’t often hear about the Medicaid 1115 waiver in Texas, but this waiver gives Texas billions of federal dollars to provide some pretty expensive care.

This waiver expires in 2016, though. Texas is in the process of asking the federal government to extend and renew the money, but that renewal isn't guaranteed.

Texas Hospitals Could Lose Billions Without Medicaid Waiver

May 8, 2015
Nathan Bernier/KUT

A waiver program that provides billions of dollars for Texas hospitals expires next year, and a panel of House lawmakers is asking state health officials if they have a Plan B. 

The 1115 Medicaid transformation waiver, among other things, gives billions in federal dollars to Texas hospitals that provide care for patients who don't have health insurance.  

In 2013, Texas spent almost $4 billion in what's called "uncompensated care" for low-income Texans.

Rally Draws Attention to Wage of Home Caregivers in Texas

Apr 2, 2015
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

At the Capitol Wednesday, advocates for people with disabilities showed up in force to draw attention to how much home care attendants earn, which isn't much more than minimum wage.

The chants were hard to ignore at the rotunda. Home care attendants came to ask Texas lawmakers to raise their minimum wage, since in the state, caregivers get a minimum of $7.86 an hour.

At the rotunda, Sarah Watkins, who is in a wheelchair, said she has a tough time keeping a caregiver for long.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT

Leaders of the Texas Senate have sent a letter to President Barack Obama [read a PDF of the letter here] about Medicaid. It says that if Texas can’t make changes to how it runs Medicaid now, there’ll be no Medicaid expansion for Texas in the future.

The Affordable Care Act gives states the option to expand Medicaid to cover more people, or in the case of Texas and some other states, not expand it.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, and last legislative session, lawmakers did have some discussion on how Texas could draw down federal dollars to insure more people, but only if the options don't include expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

At least one of the bills filed already would allow Medicaid expansion, but that doesn’t mean any will make it to the floor of the House or Senate for discussion.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas has Medicaid programs that help parents or guardians care at home for children who would otherwise be eligible for nursing facility care, but recently the requirements for children to qualify for some programs have changed.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Ahead of the next legislative session, state senators are talking about one of the most politically divisive federal programs – Medicaid. Or more specifically, how to avoid expanding Medicaid eligibility in Texas and still get more people insured.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Texas has at least two options for insuring more people. One is expanding Medicaid eligibility in Texas. The state’s Republican leadership doesn’t support that option.

photo illustration by: Peter Skadberg/Todd Wiseman

Texas is “ultimately responsible” for millions of misspent Medicaid dollars, according to a new federal audit, because a state agency failed to properly oversee the contractor that reviewed the medical necessity of Medicaid claims.

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