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Posts Tagged ‘health care’

Enrolling the uninsured

This is going to be such a huge job. Fresh produce wasn’t the only thing you could find at the Farmers Market [last] Saturday. Volunteers with the Get Covered America campaign were passing out flyers and letting people know that starting Oct. 1, American citizens can enroll for low-cost health insurance as part of the […]

RAND reminds us what we’re not getting

Not expanding Medicaid is a really bad deal for Texas, and all those other states like Texas. States that choose not to expand Medicaid under federal health care reform will leave millions of their residents without health insurance and increase spending, at least in the short term, on the cost of treating uninsured residents, according […]

Medicaid “expansion” likely dead

The calendar is a harsh mistress. The House’s lead health care budget writer says his bill to force Gov. Rick Perry’s administration to explore the potential for a “Texas solution” on Medicaid expansion is dead. Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, said Tuesday that his bill outlining an expansion of coverage for poor adults using private insurance, […]

Hotze sues Obamacare

You would think that once the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional that that would settle things, but then you would not be Steve Hotze. Steve Hotze, a Houston-area physician and major Republican campaign donor who has built his career around alternative medicine, says he is filing suit against the federal […]

If Medicaid is broken, who broke it?

Patricia Kilday Hart asks an excellent question. [Rep. Garnet] Coleman’s observation provides part of the answer: Just last session, the Legislature trimmed $486 million in state money paid to Medicaid providers, and ended a student loan-forgiveness program for new doctors exclusively serving Medicaid patients. The federal government, which has established some rules that restrict the […]

Zaffirini and Uresti stand against needless abortion restrictions

Good to hear, but given their histories it’s wise to be vigilant. Texas Republicans are one vote short of passing a controversial abortion bill in the Senate — and the fate of the legislation now rests squarely on the shoulders of two South Texas Democrats. Sens. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, oppose […]

What Obamacare will do for Texas

Even without Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act will help millions of Texans get access to health care. Nearly 2.6 million Texans could qualify for tax credits to purchase health insurance in 2014, according to a report released Thursday by Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for health care consumers. The tax credits will be […]

Williams’ “Medicaid” plan

I’m really not sure what to make of this. State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, is crafting a Medicaid reform plan that would use premium tax revenue to subsidize private health plans for uninsured Texans, his office confirmed on Tuesday night. Gary Scharrer, a spokesman for Williams, said the proposal is “still a concept,” one […]

Yes, Rick Perry still hates Medicaid

We’re not surprised by this, right? The Texas rhetoric around a key facet of federal health reform — whether the state will expand subsidized insurance to its poorest adults — reached the high water mark on Monday, with back-to-back press conferences at the Capitol featuring political leaders on both sides of the aisle. Republicans including […]

The limits of the Arkansas option

I’ve mentioned the Arkansas option for expanding Medicaid several times, under which the state uses Medicaid money to buy private health insurance for those who would be eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. It’s not my preferred solution, but it has some merits and would certainly be better than doing nothing. However, while […]

Businesses say they want Medicaid expansion, too

This really comes down to two things. Chambers of commerce representing companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) are challenging Texas Governor Rick Perry and lawmakers to expand health care for the poor in the state with the highest percentage of uninsured people. The chambers of five cities are sending lobbyists […]

On managing health care costs

Fascinating story in the Statesman on one approach they are taking to manage health care costs in Travis County. A new world of health care is unfolding for some chronically ill Austin-area residents like [Marshall] Kettelhut, who was a cook at Long John Silver’s before he became too sick to work in 2010. Health care […]

You can present that “Texas solution” any time now

State Rep. John Zerwas takes to the op-ed pages to assure us that yes, the Republicans really truly do want to do something about the vast number of uninsured people in this state if only they are given the freedom to do it their way. The Texas Medicaid program as it presently exists has reached […]

Nine hundred million reasons why expanding Medicaid is a good idea

It’s all about the money. Expanding Medicaid could make available at least $900 million in state money that otherwise would be slated for health care as lawmakers work to pay for Texas’ priorities, according to an analysis released Tuesday. “More efficient health spending means there’s more money available for other needs like water and education,” […]

More concern of convenience

David Dewhurst channels Dan Patrick. Dewhurst, noting his differing view from Straus, said he’s a product of public schools and wants to support them, but said he doesn’t want to leave an estimated 315,000 Texas students in academically unacceptable schools. “I’m mad. I’m mad as hell about that,” Dewhurst said, adding that it takes on […]

Yes, Ed Emmett supports Medicaid expansion

As I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been banging the drum pretty much nonstop for Medicaid expansion. I see it not only as a state issue but a county issue as well, which is why I’ve made a big deal about what Harris County is or isn’t doing about it. I haven’t seen the subject come […]

Report recommends against privatizing the Harris County jail

Very good news. Privatizing the Harris County jail would be risky and may not result in savings, according to an internal county memo recommending that Commissioners Court keep the state’s largest lockup in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s hands. The confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, comes after more than a year of study […]

As if you needed another reason to support Medicaid expansion

Even more data on why Medicaid expansion makes sense from Texas Impact. The study, by former Texas deputy comptroller Billy Hamilton, says Texas shouldn’t pass up the chance to insure up to 2 million of its more than 6 million uninsured people. Hamilton cited other benefits. Expansion of the Medicaid rolls would “provide relief to […]

Medicaid expansion pressure is having an effect

Despite the mountains of evidence in its favor, I still can’t say that I see a path to Medicaid expansion in Texas. But stories like this do give me some hope. Adamantly opposed to expanding Medicaid coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had seemingly […]

Not a big enough picture

The headline on this story reads “County mulls big-picture health council”, but a read of the story makes it clear that there’s a big piece of this picture missing from the discussion. Harris County is discussing a big-picture approach to its complex and overlapping health care costs, proposing the creation of a council to coordinate […]

Working the county Medicaid expansion angle

As statewide Medicaid expansion is being pushed in Austin, some activists are going to various County Commissioners Courts to push for the county option to expand Medicaid as well. “A broad spectrum of people across business, faith and health care communities are coming together to ask that we find a way to draw down these […]

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 […]

Yet another report saying we should expand Medicaid in Texas

It’s the fiscally responsible thing to do, in addition to being the morally correct thing to do. Expanding Medicaid is a “smart, affordable and fair” decision for Texas, according to a report issued by Billy Hamilton, a non-partisan consultant commissioned by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas and Texas Impact, a statewide interfaith network. “If […]

Dewhurst and Nelson push Medicaid reform

I’m reserving judgment on this for now. Lt. Gov David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, on Wednesday touted Senate proposals they say would bring down spending on Medicaid, the state’s health program for the poor, by instituting quality-based payment reforms for long-term care services and measures to catch Medicaid fraud and abuse. “Our […]

Like it or not, Obamacare is coming to Texas

The Better Texas blog reminds us that as the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in next year there are things that need to be done in Texas to be compliant [W]hat I hope to see are bills that prepare Texas for 2014 market changes to help keep premiums reasonable, encourage competition, and ensure that the […]

Expanding Medicaid is about more than money

It’s a matter of life and death If Texas doesn’t expand Medicaid, it will reject more than $100 billion in federal money the first decade, according to the state’s own figures. To get that sizeable federal reimbursement, the state would have to spend about $16 billion over 10 years. The governor’s refusal to take the […]

The revenue estimate is in

And under normal circumstances it would be very good news. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, laying out the parameters for state spending on the eve of the legislative session, said Monday that the rebounding Texas economy gives lawmakers $8.8 billion unallocated in state coffers for this budget period and an improving picture for the next two […]

All or nothing on Medicaid expansion

Partial Medicaid expansion, in whatever the form, will not be an option. “Consistent with the law, there is not an option for enhanced match for a partial or phased in Medicaid expansion,” acting Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner told reporters on a call Monday. The administration’s reasoning goes like this: The […]

No smokers need apply

Boy, is this a big can of worms. Methodist Hospital System in Houston this month announcedit will implement a tobacco-free hiring policy on Jan. 1, joining the Texas Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, which have had similar policies since last year and 2010, respectively. The policies are straightforward. Applicants who smoke or chew […]

Perryman for expanding Medicaid

Economist Ray Perryman makes the straightforward economic case for expanding Medicaid in Texas. According to our analysis, every $1 spent by the State of Texas to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act returns $1.29 in dynamic State government revenue during the first 10 years of the expansion. Medicaid expenditures lead to substantial economic […]

Yet another reason to expand Medicaid

Grits: A friend forwarded me a handout being circulated at the Harris County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council detailing a pair of studies of “Kendra’s Law” out of New York, which provides court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment to a small subset of probationers in the “most desperate need for psychiatric treatment.” According to the handout, “Taken […]

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 […]

We’re not number one!

Congratulations, Harris County, for not having the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country any more. An estimated 29.9 percent of Harris County residents lacked health insurance in 2010, according to the new U.S. Census Bureau data, a smaller share than Miami-Dade County’s 35.8 percent and Dallas County’s 31 percent. The rankings represent a […]

We need more doctors and nurses

If the state of Texas ever expands Medicaid, or less likely does something on its own to improve access to health care for its residents, it’s going to have to confront a different problem: A persistent shortage of doctors and nurses. As of May 2011, the demand for nurses in Texas exceeded the supply by […]