Medicaid

2015 Legislature
10:00 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Rally Draws Attention to Wage of Home Caregivers in Texas

At the Capitol on April 1, 2015, advocates for people with disabilities showed up in force to draw attention to how much home care attendants earn at minimum an hour in Texas.
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.

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2015 Legislature
10:36 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Without Medicaid Flexibility, Texas Republicans Say No to Program's Expansion

The Texas Senate Republican Caucus has sent a letter to President Barack Obama saying that without flexibility in the current Medicaid program, they won't support any type of expansion of the program in the future.
Veronica Zaragovia/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.

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2015 Legislature
8:40 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Can Texas Insure More Low-Income People Without Expanding Medicaid?

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott says he expects Texas lawmakers will consider ways to reduce the rate of the uninsured next legislative session.
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.

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Texas
9:04 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Medicaid Eligibility Changes Have Texas Parents Scrambling to Regain Coverage

When Julio Solis Milam, 12, became ineligible for the Medically Dependent Children’s Program in 2013, his mother Claire Milam appealed the decision. He’s now eligible for a different Medicaid waiver program.
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.

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Affordable Care Act
10:46 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Although Texas Leaders Aren't Expanding Medicaid, Enrollment Numbers Slated to Jump

On Aug. 14, 2014, ahead of the next legislative session, state senators talked about one of the most politically divisive federal programs, Medicaid.
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.

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Medicaid
8:30 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Feds: Texas Responsible for Misspent Medicaid Dollars

A federal audit found the 3,000 percent increase in dental payments from 2003 to 2010 was ultimately Texas' responsibility.
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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Affordable Care Act
7:27 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

No Medicaid Expansion Leaves Thousands of Texas Women in 'Coverage Gap'

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Governor Perry’s decision not to accept federal expansion of Medicaid in Texas means 687,000 women will be left in a "coverage gap," according to a report by the National Women’s Law Center. Those women are too poor to qualify for Medicaid, but don’t make enough money to be eligible for subsidies on the federal health insurance exchange. 

Medicaid eligibility standards in Texas are among the strictest in the nation. A parent in a family of three must make less than $3,737 annually to qualify (19 percent of the federal poverty level), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Adults without dependent children are not eligible for Medicaid in Texas. 

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Texas
4:29 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Physicians Group Gives Texas a Failing Grade for Access to Emergency Care

Texas is failing in several categories when it comes to its emergency care environment, according to a new report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Nathan Bernier, KUT

Texas is failing in several categories when it comes to its emergency care environment, at least according to a report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians.   

Based near Dallas, the physicians group grades states each year on their emergency care environment.

This year, Texas gets an F, ranking 47th in the nation, for access to emergency care.

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Affordable Care Act
10:27 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Oregon Shines On Medicaid, As Texas Stalls On Sign-Ups

Kyle Thompson and his family are all going to have health coverage in Oregon, thanks to the state's successful effort to enroll people in Medicaid.
Kristian Foden-Vencil

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:29 pm

Oregon might be seen as a complete failure or a surprising success when it comes to its health insurance exchange.

One the one hand, the state's website has yet to allow a single person to enroll. That's a big problem for the folks who are hoping to qualify for subsidies and buy insurance that will start Jan. 1.

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Affordable Care Act
4:33 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Sebelius Vows to Fix Obamacare Site, Calls for Texas Medicaid Expansion

Central Health CEO Patricia Young Brown, left, and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell join Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a CommUnity Care clinic in Austin on Oct. 25, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

With all of the attention on the health care marketplace website problems, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Austin today for some damage control. 

Sebelius went to CommUnityCare’s East Austin Health Center, where she promised that problems with healthcare.gov and its Spanish-language version will get fixed.

She also praised mayors across Texas for supporting Medicaid expansion, and urged state leaders to join them.

"I’m hoping that Texas takes another look at that opportunity because there will be millions of people still left on the side of the road with no affordable options," Sebelius said.

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Health
12:21 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

State Points to 'Federal Glitch' that Could Delay Some Children's Health Coverage

The new federal health insurance exchange could lead to a delay in children’s healthcare coverage.
flickr.com/sharynmorrow

Although the Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, the fight is far from over. Yesterday's launch of insurance marketplace websites saw some hiccups, including long wait times as people jammed onto the sites to sign up for coverage.

Now, the state says, there's another problem: for some families, using the marketplace sites could lead to a delay in children’s healthcare coverage.

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Education
7:00 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Could Halving the Dropout Rate Save Texas Half a Billion Dollars?

A new study finds if Texas cuts its dropout rate in half, it could save the state $547 million dollars in Medicaid spending
flickr.com/nodivision

Reducing the high school dropout rate in Texas by 50 percent could save the state $547 million in Medicaid spending annually, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education

The study finds raising education-attainment levels could reduce health-related costs – specifically surrounding obesity, tobacco and alcohol use and heart disease. 

"An educated citizen is a healthy, productive and happier citizen," Bob Wise, president of Alliance for Excellent Education, said in a statement released Wednesday.

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Health
9:00 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Protesters Get Unexpected Medicaid Meeting with Gov. Perry

Connie Paredes with the Texas Organizing Project spoke to the media after she had a conversation with Gov. Rick Perry about Medicaid expansion on May 22, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Health care protestors who interrupted Gov. Rick Perry during a speech yesterday afternoon were surprised that he offered to meet with them in exchange for letting him continue his talk.   

Gov. Perry has called Medicaid “broken” and a “fool’s errand.” Despite his adamant stance against expanding the entitlement program, at least 20 protesters with the Texas Organizing Project wanted to discuss it with him.

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2013 Legislative Session
5:45 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Perry, Interrupted, Meets With Medicaid Advocacy Group

Reynaldo Gutierrez, center, was one protester who got a meeting with Gov. Perry earlier today.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

A Texas advocacy group took some less than subtle steps today to get a meeting with the governor.

Members from the healthcare advocacy group Texas Organizing Project interrupted Gov. Rick Perry multiple times during a speech at the Texas Global Business Summit this afternoon, repeating a call for Texas to accept federal Medicaid dollars.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Agenda Texas: Medicaid Expansion Update

Medicaid expansion holding on by a thread under the dome.
Texas Tribune

Medicaid expansion in Texas: we’ve highlighted the topic a couple of times during the legislative session. From those hoping to pick up Medicaid coverage, to lawmakers for and against Texas joining in the Affordable Care Act program.

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Politics
5:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Medicaid Negotiations Going Nowhere, HHS Chief Says

HHS Commissioner Kyle Janek says the Legislature needs to call the tune.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Negotiations with the federal government to expand Medicaid in Texas are at a standstill, according to the head of the state’s health agency, because he’s waiting on the Legislature to give him direction.

“If I were to go up and say, ‘Oh what if we try this or try that,’ only to come back and find that that very day the Legislature had passed legislation saying, ‘You may not talk about that,’” Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek said at a TribLive event held by our political reporting partner the Texas Tribune, “it would be a waste of my time to start negotiating pieces.”

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Politics
5:11 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Bill on Texas Solution to Medicaid Expansion Moves Forward

A bill approved today by a Texas House committee would help insure the roughly 6 million Texas residents who don’t have coverage.
Nathan Bernier, KUT

A bill approved today by a Texas House committee would help insure the roughly 6 million Texas residents who don’t have coverage, but not in the way envisioned by the federal Affordable Care Act.

State Rep.  John Zerwas, R-Simonton, says his bill is what he calls a “Texas” solution to the health insurance gap. He adamantly says he’s not for Medicaid expansion.

"To put a million and a half people into the current Medicaid program and expect we’re going to be able to serve those people with a very fragile provider network is just totally wrong," Zerwas said.

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2013 Legislature
3:41 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Texas Nursing Homes Seeking More From Medicaid

Nursing Home professionals and some of their elderly patients gathered today at the Capitol to ask state lawmakers to give more for Medicaid funding.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

Nursing home professionals from all over Texas gathered today at the Capitol, asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid funding to care for more of the state’s seniors.

Paul Gerharter is director of nursing at Touchstone Communities, a provider of nursing home care in Central and South Texas. He says state budgets have lessened the number of nursing homes in the midst of a growing need for long-term care.

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Politics
3:42 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

House Opens Door to Medicaid Expansion Negotiations

Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

In the midst of debate on the 2014-15 budget, the House quietly approved an amendment on Thursday that would open the door to negotiations on expanding Medicaid, a key provision of federal health reform. The amendment requires the Health and Human Services Commission to develop a plan to create more efficient health care options for Medicaid populations if the state chooses to draw down federal financing to expand Medicaid eligibility.

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Politics
7:15 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Lawmakers' Divide on Medicaid Expansion Impacts Texans

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro spoke during a press conference to express support for Medicaid expansion in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues

While Gov. Rick Perry spoke early in the day, protesters with the Texas Organizing Project shouted slogans in support of Medicaid expansion.

Republican U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz lined up alongside the Governor to speak against Medicaid expansion. Sen. Cornyn said expanding Medicaid rolls in Texas could add to the national deficit, leaving Texas alone to handle costs.

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