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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Suehs’

Testifying about the Women’s Health Program

More hearings like this, please. The Texas Department of State Health Services got an earful today from lawmakers and women’s health advocates at a public meeting in Austin to discuss proposed rules for the Texas Women’s Health Program — specifically, the state’s plan to sacrifice 90 percent of federal funding for the program in order […]

Medicaid expansion: Not as expensive as the state claimed it would be

Remember last year when the state Health and Human Services Commission claimed that Medicaid expansion would cost the state of Texas $27 billion over ten years, causing every Republican in the state to have a fainting spell and a hissy fit about how that would bankrupt us all? Turns out that estimate was a wee […]

Suehs to retire

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs will call it a career this August. Suehs’ announcement follows news last month that Billy Millwee, the state’s Medicaid director, was retiring, leaving an even bigger void than anticipated at the top of an agency facing billions of dollars in unpaid Medicaid costs and struggling to institute […]

The state shows its intent in Planned Parenthood lawsuit

As we know, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas in order to block the “Affiliate Rule” that Rick Perry is using to deny Medicaid funds to their clinics for the Women’s Health Program. In the opening arguments of the lawsuit, the state clearly shows what its priorities are. State officials will […]

Rick Perry’s vision for women’s health in Texas

More talk than action, and the numbers don’t add up. Are we surprised? Texas health officials have delivered a proposal to the federal government that outlines their plans for transitioning the Women’s Health Program from a program primarily supported by federal funds to one that runs on state money. They want the federal government to […]

Planned Parenthood sues Texas

Two can play at that game. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to block a rule aimed at excluding their health centers from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Austin, asks the court to file a preliminary injunction to block a rule aimed at excluding […]

The Texas bait and switch

You almost have to admire the sheer brazenness of it all. Almost. In a fiscal switcheroo, Texas could free up state dollars to fund the embattled Women’s Health Program by seeking federal block grants for other programs, the state’s health commissioner wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Tuesday. Texas is losing more than […]

Perry’s empty promise on the Women’s Health Program

Our Governor talks big, but his words have no meaning. The state will find the cash to continue a women’s health program whose federal funding is threatened because of a decision to keep Planned Parenthood from participating, Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday. “We’re going to fund this program,” Perry said. “Listen, we’ll find the money. […]

A place to start

At least one elected Republican is feeling a bit angsty about the Republican war on women’s health. For some GOP lawmakers, the issue gets deeply personal, and the line between party loyalty, allegiance to anti-abortion politics and public health is a tough balancing act. State Rep. Sarah Davis, a first-term Republican lawmaker from Houston, said […]

Who cares about women, anyway?

The state of Texas certainly doesn’t. If there was any hope that the state was seeking a compromise with the federal government over Texas’ Women’s Health Program, it’s fading fast. At the direction of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule on Thursday that formally […]

As always, the hole is bigger than we thought

Remember how the Republicans in the Lege underfunded Medicaid by $4.5 billion, which they will have to tap the Rainy Day Fund in 2013 to deal with, in order to make the budget for this biennium appear to be “balanced”? Turns out we’re going to need a lot more than that. Kudos to the Quorum […]

Get ready for another Medicaid lawsuit

That’s the very likely outcome if proposed cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates go through. “You cut rates an additional 10 percent, I’m not sure I can comply with the access provision,” Thomas Suehs, commissioner of the state Health and Human Services Commission, told the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday. He warned that short-term savings from […]

One Republican for the Rainy Day Fund

State Sen. Kevin Eltife says what I suspect more than a few Republican legislators are thinking. “We have to find more revenue,” the former Tyler mayor and senator of seven years said [Thursday] morning during a committee hearing. “It’s insane not use the Rainy Day Fund. We also have to find additional revenue.” Republican leaders […]

It’s not just teachers’ jobs that are on the line

Many other people will be thrown out of work under a cuts-only budget. “I don’t know that I’ll be able to stay in business,” said Jerre van den Bent, owner of Dallas-based Therapy 2000, a 3,000-employee agency helping children with developmental disabilities. Mickey Atkins, president of Austin-based D&S Residential Services, which has 13 group homes […]

These are only “hard choices” for some people

I suspect that for too many members of the incoming Legislature, the decisions they’ll be making about the budget will be ones they’re not at all uncomfortable with. The Legislature’s Republican leadership will confront weighty questions, such as how many children the state can afford to provide medical care for and what level of care […]

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 […]

No federal sex ed money for Texas

Stay ignorant, kids. It’s what the state of Texas wants you to do. At the end of the summer, Texas quietly opted to forgo yet another pot of federal money — specifically, $4.4 million that would have gone toward educating youth on abstinence and contraception to prevent teen pregnancy. The Department of State Health Services […]

Progress on food stamps

Good news. With hundreds of new workers on board, Texas has dramatically improved its speed and accuracy processing food stamp applications, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs [told] state lawmakers [last week]. But he’ll also tell the joint gathering of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the House-Senate panel overseeing the […]

The food banks pitch in

It’s great that they’re making such a difference. It’s a crime that it took so long and that the problem got to be so bad before they were called in to help. Last year, food banks had to step up to help hundreds of families when the recession and a meltdown of Texas’ food stamp […]

The big picture for health care reform in Texas

The number you need to know is four point two million. Texas’ uninsured population will drop from 6.5 million this year to 2.3 million once the federal health care overhaul is fully implemented, and about a third of the remaining uninsured will likely be illegal immigrants, [Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs] said […]

More arguing over health care costs

There are many things to say about this. The debate over how much federal health care reform will cost Texas put the state’s health and human services chief on the defensive on Wednesday, as he presented a budget estimate to lawmakers that is 20 times higher than federal projections and questioned the mathematics education of […]

State auditor issues recommendations for fixing food stamps

It’s about what you’d expect. The state agency that oversees Texas’ food stamp program is outdated and staffed by inexperienced workers, leading to long delays and inaccurate processing, said the state auditor in a report released Tuesday. “To improve the timeliness and accuracy of (food stamp) eligibility determinations, the commission must modernize its eligibility determination […]

Making money on both ends

I’m glad to hear that the food stamp backlog should be cleared up soon. I’m not so glad to hear that one of the guys who bears responsibility for getting us into that mess in the first place now stands to benefit from the work to get us out of it. Gregg Phillips was the […]

Food stamp application backlog to be cleared by April

Here’s a little bit of good news. Texas’ food stamp application backlog is now expected to be cleared by the end of April, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs told lawmakers today. [...] The commission had projected it would clear the backlog by February. That didn’t happen. Though the backlog disappeared in the […]

State to audit food stamp delivery process

Better late than never. Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs has asked [state auditor John] Keel to audit the food stamp program to improve accuracy and efficiency. “We must fix our system so that it works for everyone. I’m asking the state auditor to help us identify both immediate and long-term solutions to make […]

Monitoring the food stamps problem

State Sens. Judith Zaffirini and Tommy Williams will be keeping an eye on the food stamps situation. Zaffirini said in an interview that she and Williams will work with Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs on hiring more enrollment workers — as well as training and retaining them — and improving communication between […]

Feds to Texas: Fix food stamps!

Yet another (bad) way in which our state has distinguished itself. Federal officials say Texas should appoint a food stamp czar to take charge of fixing the application backlogs and high error rates plaguing the program. “All states are feeling the pinch right now because of the economic recession, but I’m not aware of any […]