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Posts Tagged ‘CHIP’

Expand Medicaid or else

Turns out the federal government has more leverage over Texas than you might think. If Texas wants to keep receiving billions of federal dollars to help hospitals care for uninsured patients, state lawmakers may have to look again at expanding Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults, some political observers say. That’s because in 2016, Texas will […]

Expanding Medicaid the hard way

A lot smaller than it should have been, but it’s still something. More than 80,000 additional Texans have enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act last fall despite Republican state leaders’ decision not to expand eligibility to poor adults, according to federal figures. The 80,435 […]

Texas insurance enrollment update

Enrollments are up and the number of uninsured are down, though both could have been a lot better. The sky-high rate of Texans without health insurance has dropped only slightly since the launch of the federal Affordable Care Act’s online health insurance marketplace, according to a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public […]

What the ACA does, Texas has long done

By now you’ve surely heard about the CBO report on the Affordable Care Act and the workforce, which despite some terribly botched reporting does have a lot of political considerations. There’s something I’d like to point out about this before we get too bogged down in attack ads. Let’s start with Kevin Drum putting a […]

ACA enrollments in Texas

As was the case with the rest of the country, there was a big surge in December. Texas enrollments in the online insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act rose nearly eightfold in December, according to 2013 figures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Monday. Texas ranks third in the […]

Supplement this!

Time for the Lege to pay a few past-due bills from 2011. That’s where a supplemental budget comes in. It is literally a second budget added to the original one lawmakers approved in 2011. It’s not an unusual course for lawmakers to take to address lingering IOUs, but this year’s efforts are becoming more complicated […]

Then YOU fix it!

Stuff like this really pisses me off. On Wednesday, the [Senate Finance] committee heard testimony from state officials on the proposed health budget, which grew 2 percent from the current biennium budget to $70 billion. The chairman of the committee, Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, expressed the need for fiscal conservancy but said the decisions […]

Counties may try to expand Medicaid on their own

The Washington Post reports on the efforts of county and hospital district officials in some of Texas’ largest counties to bypass Rick Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid for Texas and seek approval to do it themselves for their own jurisdictions. George Hernandez Jr., CEO of University Health System in San Antonio, came up with the […]

The working poor are pretty much screwed in Texas

These are the people that Rick Perry doesn’t care about. Jose Gallegos’ company eliminated employee health insurance to save money, so when his gut started hurting and his skin took on a yellow tinge, he resisted seeing a doctor. When he finally went to the emergency room, physicians diagnosed stomach cancer. Gallegos made too much […]

One million uninsured kids

One point two million uninsured kids in Texas, actually. But who’s counting? More than 1 million Texas children remain without health insurance, and those kids are not getting the care they need. The startling condition of the state’s children came into vivid focus last week with the release of the annual Kids Count survey. The […]

Pediatric dental care

It’s more important than you might think. While overall oral health care for adults and children has improved, tooth decay continues to be the most common chronic disease among children. It can have serious social and health consequences when untreated and, in rare cases, can be fatal. “The children with the highest need are the […]

Rick Perry must love uninsured people, because he’s helped create so many of them

Buried in this story about the grim statistics on poverty that were recently released by the Census is this little nugget that hits close to home: Health insurance coverage also dropped for most age groups, although census officials said the change was not statistically significant. In all, 49.9 million people lacked health insurance, or 16.3 […]

If it weren’t for Obama, we wouldn’t be having this conversation

Rep. John Zerwas writes an op-ed extolling the virtues of the health insurance exchange bill he’s filed. While it is no secret that I oppose the federal health care reform bill, if we don’t act now to create the Texas Health Insurance Connector, our state could be forced to cede regulatory control of a significant […]

This is your government on dogma

We won’t get Jim Pitts’ bare bones budget outline till late tonight, so as not to be a buzzkill on the Perry coronation inauguration. We did, however, get an opening bid from the ideological purists, and while it’s not worth looking at in details, because life is too short and a mind is a terrible […]

New flash: Dropping Medicaid would be bad

Don’t take my word for it, take the Texas Department of Health and Human Services’ word for it. Opting out of federal Medicaid, something Republican leaders have been considering as a method to wipe out Texas’ estimated $25 billion budget shortfall, would create major difficulties, the report states — not just for the millions of […]

Because that’s who he is

Before Thanksgiving, Ezra Klein asked “Why does Gov. Rick Perry want more uninsured Texans?” Consider the case of Texas, which with 25 percent uninsured, leads the nation in not providing for its residents. If the state pulls out of Medicaid, as Gov. Rick Perry (R) is suggesting, that would put it at 40 percent uninsured, […]

Medicaid: Ideologues versus experts

The fascinating thing in this story about the Republican plan to kill Medicaid is just how half-baked the idea is. GOP Gov. Rick Perry, fresh off a big re-election win and touting his new book on states’ rights, is among those who say it’s a good idea. The election results — which included a huge […]

Yes, let’s enroll more kids in CHIP

What a great idea. The Obama administration today ballyhooed a new Urban Institute report that suggests a path to enrolling 5 million kids in government-sponsored health insurance who are eligible but not signed up. The report says increasing the number of Texas kids on Medicaid and CHIP is “critical” to reaching this national goal. A […]

How much do kids count?

In Texas, the answer is not much at all. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of Texas kids living in poverty grew by 240,000, accounting for 23 percent of the total child population. The national child poverty rate is 18 percent. [Frances Deviney, president of the Texas KIDS Count branch housed at the Center for […]

Why we can’t just cut our way out of the budget deficit

For one thing, there’s very little fat, and not much discretionary spending in the biggest budget items like health and human services. Of the $23 billion in state dollars appropriated in the current budget for health and human services programs, $20 billion is “restricted” because of state law, constitutional provisions or federal laws and regulations. […]

Who can get health care in Williamson County

This is a bad idea. Williamson County commissioners have decided to stop paying health care costs for indigent adults and children who don’t have valid Social Security cards. County Judge Dan A. Gattis said last week that he wanted to ensure that there was enough money for the residents of Williamson County who qualified for […]

Accounting tricks

Everyone knows that the current budget shortfall means the Lege will be searching for cutbacks and new revenue sources. But there is a third option, too, one that doesn’t usually get much attention but which has certainly been done before: Accounting tricks. Delaying payments, sometimes as little as a day, to push them into the […]

Don’t be like Arizona

I don’t have a whole lot of hope for the 2011 legislative session and the budget that it will produce. But at least we won’t do anything quite this stupid. Arizona on Thursday became the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program when Gov. Jan Brewer signed an austere budget that will leave […]

The effect of health care reform on Texas

Here’s an email from the Legislative Study Group, via State Rep. Garnet Coleman, who has been a constant source of health care reform updates: LSG Policy Update: CBO Estimates of Impact of Healthcare Reform to Texas With the United States House of Representatives poised to take a vote on health care reform [today], we wanted […]

Those evil, dirty, federal dollars

Rick Perry loves ‘em. Which of the following revenue sources has grown the most since Rick Perry became governor? A. Sales tax, driven by a strong economy. B. Natural gas production tax revenue, driven by a strong economy and the Barnett Shale discovery. C. Federal income. The answer is C, though you’d never know it […]

If we must cut the budget, let’s be smart about it

The Trib remembers the last time the state of Texas had a huge budget hole, and how it made things worse in its attempt to deal with it. For some, it’s not too early to fret that lawmakers will balance the budget in 2011 by doing what they did seven years ago, the last time […]

Our healthcare system is great, if you ignore all those people who can’t afford it

State Rep. John Zerwas demonstrates that being a physician doesn’t make you qualified to talk about health care reform. His article is as embarrassingly idea-free as his national colleagues’ plan was. After the usual paean to tort “reform” and invective about government employees getting between you and your doctor – that’s what insurance companies are […]

Easing eligibility requirements on food stamps

I suppose you could consider this to be a small benefit of the food stamps snafu. Texas is easing a requirement that most families on food stamps must be interviewed every six months, a step that will relieve pressure on the system for determining who receives state aid, officials said Tuesday. The story doesn’t go […]

That’s a wrap for the special session

I don’t know if it’s a record, but a little more than 30 hours after they gaveled in yesterday, both chambers adjourned sine die today, bringing the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it special session to a close. As noted yesterday, the two bills deemed to be actual needs, SB2 to extend the life of the state agencies that had […]

Special session starts tomorrow

The special session everyone knew was coming to address the disposition of several state agencies begins tomorrow. So far, at least, the agenda hasn’t changed from the original call. Gov. Rick Perry is being pressed to add issues ranging from children’s health care to voter identification to the agenda of the special session that begins […]

More on the special session

Governor Perry speaks about the upcoming special session. All were left unaddressed when the Legislature adjourned June 1. Perry told reporters he expects lawmakers to finish their work in “72 to 96 hours. I think that’s three to four days, right? My Aggie math — y’all kind of check me on that.” Perry said he […]

Special session for July 1

We knew it was coming, and here it is. NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, by the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section 8, of the Texas Constitution, do hereby call an extraordinary session of the 81st Legislature, to be convened in the City of Austin, commencing at […]

Schieffer announces

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte is out. State Sen. Kirk Watson may or may not jump in. Tom Schieffer is in. After a rally in front of the Fort Worth elementary school he attended, Schieffer plans stops in Houston and Austin as he seeks the Democratic nomination for governor. He’ll be in San Antonio […]

TxDOT lives, Lege adjourns

The threat of a special session has been averted…we think. The House just voted to work the Legislature out of a jam by keeping open the Texas Department of Transportation and other state agencies at risk of closing. Members needed a little handiwork to make it happen, and some would say they flat ignored House […]