With 5 Million Texans Without Health Insurance, Lege Still Says No Medicaid: Terrifyingly Large Health Access Gaps In State Widened During COVID-19 Disaster – News



House Speaker Dade Phelan on Sinus dies at 87th Texas Legislature (Photo by John Anderson)

On the eve of the 87th meeting of the Texas Legislature, with appallingly large health care gaps widening in the state during the COVID-19 disaster, lawmakers on both sides felt this was a good time to think. Extending Medicaid more serious than ever in Texas since the federal Affordable Care Act more than ten years ago. However, as with so many issues in this session, there was little hope of meeting the huge and ever-growing needs of ordinary people, even as the number of uninsured Texans neared 5 million.

The Live Well Texas plan included narrower provisions unique to the state that continued to generate the billions of dollars that Texas now leaves on the table.

Of the dozens of Medicaid bills filed in this session, “Live well, Texas“program proposed Senate Bill 117 (Sep. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas) and House Bill 3871 (Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Carrollton) was the most promising. Knowing that the ACA remains radioactive for many Texas Republicans, Johnson and Johnson (not siblings) crafted narrower provisions for a plan unique to the state, but it would still bring in the billions of federal dollars that Texas now leaves on the table instead of expanding. eligibility for Medicaid. …

Rep. Julie Johnson at the Capitol rally in April (Photo by John Anderson)

Currently, almost all adults in Texas under the age of 65 who are not completely disabled or pregnant are not eligible for Medicaid, regardless of their health status. Johnson’s Bills Increased Eligibility for Only Those Earning 100% or Less federal poverty levelbelow 138% of the FPL threshold set by the ACA (above this level, people are eligible for subsidies on insurance exchanges). They also included provisions to end the program if the federal government stopped providing $ 9 to $ 1 for Medicaid (they are now even more generous thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act). It was attractive enough for the House version to be co-sponsored by all 67 Democrats, as well as nine Republicans, enough to pass legislation in that House, however, neither HB 3871 nor SB 117 ever received a hearing after being referred to a committee. After that rep. Coleman Garnet, D-Houston, tried and failed by 68 votes to 80 to amend the SB 1 budget bill to ensure compliance for access to federal Medicaid dollars to expand coverage.

Detached, House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont and allies on both sides supported “Healthy Families, Healthy TexasA package of 12 bills that Phelan says would expand access to health care. Seven of the bills were eventually passed, but groups of progressive health policymakers expressed disappointment that the package did not include any significant insurance decisions for uninsured Texans, Medicaid or not. , albeit in stages, was done: HB 133 (Rep. Tony Rose, D-Dallas) extends Medicaid coverage for young mothers from two to six months after childbirth, shortening the full Senate year originally approved by the House of Representatives (read more).

Rep. Tony Rose on the sine wave at the 87th meeting of the Texas Legislature (Photo by Yana Birchum)

It is not too late for the state to change its course. The ARPA increase for Medicaid funding, which could mean $ 3 billion to $ 5 billion in a Texas pocket, will be available within two years; nearly 200 supplier groups, local officials and organizations have called on state leaders not to leave money unclaimed. Meanwhile Medicare & Medicaid Service Centers (CMS) canceled the Texas extension for the so-called “1115 refusal, “a multi-year, multi-billion dollar federal funding agreement that has helped fund both pro bono treatment in Texas hospitals and programs to promote innovation in health care since 2011. Texas Health and Human Services Commission failed to meet public demands before filing an extension request under the Trump administration. Absent any renegotiation, the Texas waiver expires on September 30, 2022.

State leaders rushed to complain about the CMS decision with the attorney general Ken Paxton filing a relocation lawsuit as an illegal attempt to force Texas to expand Medicaid. However, the HHSC is also trying to comply with the CMS edict by scheduling three virtual meetings for the public to comment on a new Texas benefit extension announcement on June 2, 10, and 15. It’s an opportunity, some proponents of Medicaid expansion say, to get things done, even as Texas is in talks with CMS. “This time, the public will have the opportunity to weigh their vote,” he said. Anne Dunkelbergwho oversees health policy for the public policy think tank Every Texan… “We will have the opportunity to say The governor [Greg] Abbott and other state leaders that they should include coverage expansion in a deal to move Texas towards a more sustainable health care system. “

A version of this article appeared in print on June 4, 2021 under the heading: Once again: no amount of luck can stop the bleeding


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