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Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid’

We’re still #1!

In uninsured people. For the first time in more than a decade, Texas’ uninsured rate dipped below 20 percent, analysts said [recently] following the release of U.S. Census data. Slightly more than 5 million Texans were uninsured in 2014 — a 700,000 decrease from the year before. That represented a 3-point dip in the percentage […]

Harris Health wants more people to enroll in Obamacare

Who can blame them? Harris County’s public health care agency, responding to a budget crisis, will eliminate more than 19,000 people next year from eligibility for free or nearly free services, hoping most of these patients will obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The board of the agency, Harris Health, voted Thursday to reduce […]

The demography of the uninsured in Texas

Another look at those who have been helped by Obamacare in Texas, and those who would be helped if the state wasn’t actively resisting. The states’s uninsured continue to be most likely Hispanic, middle-aged, with low incomes and without a college degree, according to a continuing study tracking the implementation of the health care law […]

We wouldn’t be having these problems if we had just expanded Medicaid

The chickens, they are roosting. Hospitals that serve large uninsured populations in Texas stand to lose critical funding if the state can’t convince the federal government to continue helping with the cost, doctors and health advocates told the state health department Thursday. With the expiration date of a five-year, $29 billion program approaching, the Health […]

Outsourcing inmates again

We’ve been down this road before. For the first time in three years, the Harris County sheriff began transferring busloads of inmates this week to other correctional facilities to avoid overcrowding at the state’s largest jail. The jail population is currently at 93 percent of its 9,434-bed capacity, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said Monday. […]

Ambulances and ERs

Very interesting story about the overuse of ambulances in Houston and how the city is trying to deal with it. But in truth little works in a system that has been broken for years. Over the past generation, patients began to see emergency rooms as doctor’s offices, taking ambulances to get there. It’s the most […]

Abbott would like to restore the uninsured rate

It’s what he does. Greg Abbott on Monday urged his fellow Republicans not to “rescue” President Barack Obama’s signature health care law if it is torpedoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, an unusually public stance that could make the first-term Texas governor a leading voice on a national issue dividing the GOP. Abbott’s position, announced […]

Lots of people will lose insurance if SCOTUS takes it away from them

Just a reminder. With a U.S. Supreme Court decision looming this month on a point of law that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a series of new reports offer a grim glimpse at the toll on Texas should the court decide against the Obama administration. An estimated 1 million in Texas could lose their […]

Texas plans to sue over EPA’s latest clean air plan

So what else is new? Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday that he plans to sue the Obama administration over the proposed “Clean Power Plan,” its plan to combat climate change by slashing carbon emissions from power plants. “Texas has proven we can improve air quality without damaging our economy or Texans’ pocketbooks,” the Republican […]

Texas’ uninsured rate drops dramatically

Amazing what can happen when a government actually tries to solve a problem, isn’t it? The rate of Texans without health insurance has fallen 8 percentage points since enrollment in the federal Affordable Care Act began, according to a new study. Texas’ sky-high rate of adults without health coverage — previously about 25 percent, the […]

A different push for health care expansion

This ought to spark some interesting conversations. Two Democratic lawmakers called Wednesday for Texas leaders to explore a new type of Medicaid waiver that they say could provide health coverage to many of the state’s millions of uninsured. The waiver, characterized by the legislators as the kind of block grant that Republicans favor, is not […]

No, seriously, expand Medicaid or else

Bring. It. On. The federal government is officially holding state leaders’ feet to the fire, hoping to get Texas to expand its Medicaid program to provide health insurance to more low-income Texans. Federal officials called the state’s health agency this week to say that Texas’ reluctance to expand Medicaid — a key tenet of President […]

Let the budgetary games begin

The House takes up the budget today, with over 300 amendments and riders queued up for votes. A couple of things to watch for as the debate goes on: Killing vouchers. Lawmakers in the Texas House will have a chance to draw a line in the sand over private school vouchers during the upcoming battle […]


What happens when you expand access to health care in America? More people with previously undiagnosed illnesses can get the diagnosis and treatment that they need. Putting off visits to the doctor because you don’t have insurance is common, says Dr. Vivian Fonseca, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at Tulane University, in New Orleans. […]

Rural hospitals

If this story was meant to evoke my sympathy, I’m afraid it failed. Since the hospital closed in Paducah, a town 30 miles to the north, patients in Guthrie have 60 long miles to travel to Childress for care. It’s a feeling of isolation that has crept up on other rural corners of the state […]

The cost of unplanned pregnancies

From Wonkblog: Unintended pregnancies cost American taxpayers $21 billion each year, according to a new analysis released by the Guttmacher Institute. That averages out to a cost of about $366 per every woman of childbearing age in the U.S. Overall, more than half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended, and roughly 1-in-20 American women of reproductive […]

Bill filing deadline has passed

Believe it or not, we are almost halfway through the legislative session, and we have now passed the point where new bills can be filed. Racing to beat a deadline for filing bills, state lawmakers on Friday submitted hundreds of measures on everything from abolishing the death penalty to the licensing of auctioneers. By the […]

Republicans demand something for nothing on Medicaid

Um, okay. Leading Texas Republicans on Monday asked the Obama administration for greater flexibility to administer Medicaid — a move that has gotten little traction in the past — while reiterating that they would not participate in an expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act. “Any expansion of Medicaid in Texas is simply […]

One point two million Obamacare signups in Texas

Not too shabby. McCarter was one of nearly 1.2 million Texans who signed up or were re-enrolled in health coverage before open enrollment ended Sunday. The newly released numbers show Texas ranking behind only Florida in the number of people it signed up or re-enrolled in coverage among the 37 states that rely on the […]

State of the county 2015: Please cooperate more

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett makes his eighth State if the County address. In his eighth State of the County address, Emmett had choice words for both Austin – which is weighing a reduction in property taxes that form the backbone of county revenue – and for Houston – which has adopted a strategy of […]

We still have those outsourcing blues

We never learn from history. That’s just how we roll in this state. In 1991, the Texas attorney general’s office signed an $11 million contract to computerize its child-support payments system. By 1997, the deal with Andersen Consulting had ballooned to more than $68 million and was three years behind schedule. A state audit found […]

Texas Obamacare enrollments top 850K

And counting. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday announced nearly 860,000 Texans so far have enrolled in health insurance marketplace coverage with a month left still left to go until the 2015 open enrollment period ends. It’s unclear how many of those signups are new marketplace customers. Last year, nearly 734,000 […]

From the Bad Editorial Timing department

From the Houston Chronicle Saturday edition: State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, called Harris Health’s impending budget shortfall “one more casualty of Texas not participating in the Medicaid expansion. “We could at least stop the bleeding if we had the additional Medicaid funding,” said Coleman. “Treating people without insurance cards, particularly county hospitals but private hospitals, […]

Texas: Still not expanding Medicaid

This should put a stake through the heart of these stories. Governor-Elect Greg Abbott (R., Texas) will not expand Medicaid despite hopes by Obamacare supporters that he would do so following a report that he inquired about Utah’s variation of the health program. “Fear not — Governor-elect Abbott has fought Obamacare and will continue to […]

Bringing health insurance to the customers

It’s learning from experience. The federal government and insurers learned from the last year’s inaugural open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act that it takes more than low premiums to persuade the uninsured to buy federally mandated health coverage, especially in a state like Texas, where leaders oppose the health care law. These consumers, […]

Does any of this sound like “Medicaid Expansion” to you?

So Wonkblog, TPM, and BOR, all riffing off the same news story in which Greg Abbott had a clandestine meeting with Houston-area legislators and may have said some things that made them think he might be open to “Medicaid expansion”, are all talking about it as though it’s a thing that could happen. Here’s Wonkblog, […]

From the “Hope springs eternal” department

Texas Democrats have hope that the upcoming legislative session won’t be any worse than preceding ones. Despite all of the turnover in state government in 2014, the Texas Legislature will reconvene in January with a familiar balance of power. Democrats, resigned to a perennial minority, remain outnumbered by Republicans by a two-to-one margin. The majority […]

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 […]

Obamacare 2.0

The open enrollment period for the Obamacare insurance exchanges is going on right now. This year, the feds are taking a more direct approach to getting people to enroll. Secretary for Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, whose appearance at Monday’s news conference [in San Antonio] is part of a national tour to talk up […]

Even Rick Perry appointees back Medicaid expansion

It’s just the right thing to do. A board of medical professionals appointed by Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that the state should provide health coverage to low-income Texans under the Affordable Care Act — a move the Republican-led Legislature has opposed. The 15-member Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency recommended that the […]

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 […]

More on the initial bill filings

From the Trib, a sampling: As of Monday afternoon, a bill repealing the Texas Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition rates, had yet to emerge. Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick promised while campaigning that he would work to repeal the act. The bill could part of legislation that is reserved for priorities […]

Gov debate II: That’s more like it

The second Governor’s debate was a lively affair. Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has mostly avoided direct confrontation with his opponent in the race for Texas governor, took a hard swing at Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis over her ethics as a lawmaker in a televised debate Tuesday night. And she let him have it […]

Abbott’s health care small ball

Is that all there is? Increased funding for preventive care and luring medical professionals to Texas are at the center of gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s health care plan, unveiled at St. Joseph’s Women’s Medical Center here on Wednesday. The Republican attorney general, running to replace Gov. Rick Perry, unveiled a proposal that includes a $50 […]