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Posts Tagged ‘John Zerwas’

What’s the Lege going to do with the revenue?

Not as much as it should, of course, because the Lege never comes close to doing as much as it should. It’s a question of whether they’ll try to address some real problems, or just engage in an orgy of tax cutting. Texans can expect tax relief, a laser focus on border security and more […]

It’s still not Medicaid expansion

The Legislature may do something that could sort of be called “Medicaid expansion”, if only for lack of a better term, but we would all do well to remain deeply skeptical of what they might consider. The once taboo subject of expanding Medicaid in Texas has been broached in recent weeks by some Republicans and […]

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 […]

LVdP for Medicaid expansion

No surprise here. Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte vowed to overturn Republican opposition to expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act if elected lieutenant governor, saying the state should act to protect poor, uninsured adults. The San Antonio Democrat’s “Texas First Health Care Plan,” which she announced Friday at the […]

Don’t sweat that court ruling on Obamacare tax credits just yet

It’s too soon to say what effect, if any will be felt in Texas. Opposing rulings from two federal courts Tuesday left unclear the future prospects of federal financial aid to Texans who qualify for assistance to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled […]

More on Texas Left Me Out

The Observer reports on the launch of Texas Left Me Out. Members of the coalition pointed to two different studies that estimate that thousands of uninsured Texans with chronic conditions are likely to die as a result of not expanding Medicaid. A Harvard University/CUNY study released last week predicts between 1,840 to 3,035 deaths. Another study, by a […]

Arkansas will expand Medicaid

If they can do it… [Friday], the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services notified state officials in Arkansas that it has approved the states’ Medicaid expansion plan. And this is not any old expansion plan: Arkansas will be the only state in the country that will use Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for […]

Texas really needs Obamacare

We’ve always known that Texas would be a huge beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act because of our huge volume of uninsured people, but this quantifies it in a way that really brings it home. Texas is home to more than two-thirds of the nation’s 30 counties most in need of expanded health insurance coverage, […]

Medicaid expansion is now double secret illegal

Whatever. In a surprise turn in the House on Monday evening, a bill to reform Medicaid long-term and acute care services became a vehicle for the GOP’s platform against Medicaid expansion. “Many of us are very weary of Medicaid expansion,” said state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, who offered an amendment to Senate Bill 7 that […]

Maybe I buried Medicaid expansion too soon

I still think it’s dead, but I could be wrong about that. The fate of Medicaid reform in Texas could rest solely on an up-or-down vote on the 2014-15 budget. State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, a member of the conference committee that is hashing out the differences between the House and Senate budget plans, said […]

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, […]

Weekend legislative threefer

That sound you heard on Friday was Rick Perry stamping his feet if he doesn’t get his way. Gov. Rick Perry is warning state legislators that it could be a long, hot summer in Austin if they don’t pass his top priorities: funding water and transportation projects and cutting business taxes. With a month left […]

Medicaid “expansion” bill passes out of House committee

Forgive me for tempering my excitement about this, but it’s not that much to be excited about. Despite opposition from conservative Republicans, the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday advanced a proposal that would reform Medicaid by allowing the state to request a block grant from the federal government and expand coverage to low-income Texans. “This […]

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 […]

House discusses Medicaid expansion

Sounds like a sincere effort, though whether it can get anywhere is an open question. Amid hours of testimony from advocates in support of Medicaid expansion on Tuesday, state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, described his proposal to create an alternative program that could draw down federal financing to provide health coverage for poor and uninsured […]

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 […]

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 […]

The politics of refusing Medicaid expansion

Ron Brownstein posits that by his stubborn and increasingly isolated resistance to Medicaid expansion, including via the Arkansas option, Rick Perry is putting Republicans in electoral danger in Texas. Brownstein runs through the economic arguments and touches on the legislative action so far, then gets to the big finish: Rejecting the federal money might not […]

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 […]

Straus wants someone to do something on Medicaid

Don’t we all, Joe. Don’t we all. Seeking to light a fire under fellow Republicans to provide health care to more uninsured Texans, House Speaker Joe Straus said Wednesday that it is time to “get our heads out of the sand” and find an alternative to Medicaid expansion that would bring billions of federal dollars […]

You can’t undo the damage to women’s health

At the very end of this story, in which Rep. John Zerwas and Sen. Charles Schwertner, both of whom are physicians in real life, say that they (mostly) stand with Rick Perry on not expanding Medicaid, they also say this: Regarding the budget cuts in the last legislative session to family planning and women’s health […]

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 […]

January finance reports for area legislative offices

Just to complete the tour of semiannual finance reports, here’s a look at the cash on hand totals for area legislators. First up, the Harris County House delegation. Patricia Harless, HD126 – $308,221 Dan Huberty, HD127 – $69,058 Wayne Smith, HD128 – $218,425 John Davis, HD129 – $99,962 Allen Fletcher, HD130 – $46,559 Alma Allen, […]

“Collateral damage”

How’s that war on women going? In the year since deep cuts to family planning funding took effect, the impact has become apparent. An Observer review of state records has found that 146 clinics have lost state funds, clumped mainly in the Panhandle, Central Texas and on the border with Mexico. More than 60 of […]

What will Texas do now?

Now that the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court, there are two big issues that Texas will have to face. (*) One is the health care exchanges, and the other is Medicaid expansion, now that there’s no real sanction for refusing to participate in it. On the former, I do expect […]

The feds will run Texas’ health insurance exchange

That seems to be where we’re headed. Texas is almost alone among the nation’s largest states in failing to start work on a key piece of the Affordable Care Act, as legislators and state agencies follow Gov. Rick Perry’s wish to delay action until after a Supreme Court ruling and the November election. “Politics superseded […]

All abortion, all the time

In-fight all you want, Republicans. The clock is ticking. Abortion-rights opponents in the House have threatened to scuttle a comprehensive health care savings bill if negotiators don’t add prohibitions against abortions at public hospitals in cases of severe fetal abnormality. Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said House-Senate negotiators added “horrible language” to the special session’s big […]

House approves Medicaid changes

Hard to know what the effect of this will be. Texas lawmakers passed major changes to Medicaid on Wednesday that would privatize the health program in South Texas and allow the formation of health care cooperatives. The 142-page measure is part of a special legislative session. The Legislative Budget Board says it could save the […]

Trauma centers feel the pinch, too

Like everything else in the state, trauma centers at hospitals will see their funding get cut, and they are warning about the consequences. The officials from Memorial Hermann, Ben Taub and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston came together to say the Legislature’s proposal to allot trauma centers nearly 20 percent less than […]

Budget debate resumes tomorrow

Postcards: The Texas House [has called] it a night. They finished up the section of the budget bill that deals with public and higher education around 12:40 a.m. then adjourned until Sunday. Some members were planning to attend a Saturday morning funeral in Houston for the late husband of Democratic state Rep. Alma Allen. There […]

RIP, health exchange bill

Can’t say this is a surprise. State Rep. John Zerwas, the Simonton Republican who has filed legislation to implement one of the key elements of federal health care reform, said his bill may be permanently stuck. Zerwas, who proposed establishing a Texas health insurance exchange not because he approves of federal health reform, but because […]

Just call it “DewhurstCare”

I’m not sure what to make of this yet. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Grapevine, introduced two bills Wednesday they believe could save the state a significant amount of money and produce “healthy patient outcomes.” The duo repeated those words throughout a press conference in the Capitol, flanked by stakeholders from the […]

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 […]

The Affordable Care Act will help millions of Texans

So says the Texas Department of Insurance. Even as Texas leaders rail against the national health care law and call for its repeal, the state Department of Insurance has issued a report that says the law will make it easier for many Texas families to get health coverage. The report also helps make the case […]