Tribpedia: Medicaid

Maternity Wards, NICUs Face Budget Scrutiny

Baby Mila, who was born 3 months early, with mom Adrienne Ball in Seton Medical Center Austin's neonatal intensive care unit. Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to curb prenatal births and the high costs they present for the state's Medicaid program.
Baby Mila, who was born 3 months early, with mom Adrienne Ball in Seton Medical Center Austin's neonatal intensive care unit. Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to curb prenatal births and the high costs they present for the state's Medicaid program.

State health officials, searching for solutions to Texas’ budget shortfall, are eying neonatal intensive care units, which they fear are being overbuilt and overused by hospitals eager to profit from the high-cost care — and by doctors too quick to offer women elective inductions and Caesarean sections before their babies are full term.

Rural Hospitals Hope to Change Hiring Law

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A Texas law dating back to the 1800s that keeps hospitals from directly hiring doctors comes before lawmakers today, in a flurry of bills designed to remove the ban — either for an individual hospital district, or for all the state's rural hospitals. 

Cecile Richards: The TT Interview

The president of Planned Parenthood and daughter of the late Democratic Gov. Ann Richards on Republican lawmakers’ efforts to defund her organization, a Texas attorney general’s opinion she says will keep low-income women from preventative care, and how her mother would’ve handled all of this. 

Medicare UPL Distribution by Texas Senate Districts
Medicare UPL Distribution by Texas Senate Districts

Mapping Where Federal Hospital Dollars Go in Texas

State health officials hope they've reached a breakthrough in their effort to achieve two seemingly competing goals: expanding Medicaid managed care, and keeping a combined $1 billion in federal health care dollars flowing into Texas hospitals every year. Check out our maps to see which House and Senate districts have the most to lose if UPL dollars can't be preserved.

Guy Clifton: The TT Interview

The Houston neurosurgeon, frequent health care adviser to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and author of Flatlined: Resuscitating American Medicine on his support for the individual health insurance mandate, why cutting provider rates to rescue the state budget is misguided and how far Texas would trim Medicaid if given permission from the federal government. 

Deuell: Make Cuts, but Raise Taxes Too

State Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, would rather raise taxes a little bit than make the cuts lawmakers are considering now, he told the Tribune this evening. Deuell has been a proponent of a 10-cent increase in gasoline taxes for some time — since before his Republican primary and general election victories last year — and said he would support a broader sales tax too. "We're the 45th-lowest tax state," he said. "I'm not chomping at the bit to be number 44, but we're a low-tax state and we've got people in need."

House members discuss changing politics at TribLive event on February 28, 2011
House members discuss changing politics at TribLive event on February 28, 2011

Texas Hispanic Lawmakers Spar Over Race, Education

Protecting education and recognizing that the rapidly growing Hispanic population will gain a major political voice in Texas were themes that emerged Monday afternoon at The Texas Tribune’s day-long “New Day Rising” forum at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/21/11

Our latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll on the budgetimmigration and gambling, Galbraith on the doubts raised by power blackouts, M. Smith on efforts to get state backing for charter school debt, Ramshaw talks Medicaid with state Rep. Garnet Coleman, Musa on what cuts would do to the Texas Youth Commission, E. Smith's TribLive interview with three freshman state reps, Aaronson on sonograms-before-abortions legislation, Grissom on the largest mental health institution in the state — the Harris County Jail, and a big update to our government employee payroll database: The best of our best content from Feb. 21 to 25, 2011.

Liveblog: Reform or Bust?

We liveblogged this morning from the Austin Club, where the subject of today's TribLive was health care: Reform or Bust? The topics of conversation: the costs — and solutions — for Medicaid, payment reform in Texas vs. the federal health overhaul, and what kind of hit Texas' neediest patients will take in budget cuts.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

TPPF, State Leaders: Medicaid Growth Is "Unsustainable"

The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, joined with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Public Health Chair Lois Kolkhorst this morning to offer solutions to the state's Medicaid cost crunch. They suggested Medicaid, which currently makes up 28 percent of the state budget, will grow to nearly half of the state budget in the 2014-15 biennium, a spike they said is completely unsustainable. 

UT/Texas Tribune Poll: Mixed Signals on Budget Cuts

By a margin of more than 2 to 1, Texas voters believe that lawmakers should solve the state's massive shortfall by cutting the budget, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, but their enthusiasm dissipates when asked if they support specific cuts. "We really want to slash the budget, but not anything in it," says pollster Daron Shaw, a professor of government at UT.

Texas Seeks Medicaid Waiver, but Prognosis Is Poor

Only months ago, Texas lawmakers threatened to drop out of Medicaid. Now, Texas and other financially struggling states are asking Washington for permission to operate the program as they see fit. The feds are unlikely to agree — further fueling the fire behind the state’s anti-Washington, state-sovereignty rhetoric.

Should Texas Tap Rainy Day Fund to Ease Shortfall?

Texas, like many other states, is proposing billions of dollars in cuts to help close a budget gap. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, one thing Texas has that nobody else does is $9 billion in a piggy bank called the Rainy Day Fund — and lawmakers are divided over whether to crack it open.

Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst introduce legislation designed to improve Texas health care.
Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst introduce legislation designed to improve Texas health care.

GOP Lawmakers Introduce Health Care Bills

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." "We don't have health care in America — we have sick care," said Dewhurst.

Texas Is "On the Brink," Legislative Study Group Says

Texas' superlatives are nothing to brag about, according to the fifth edition of "Texas on the Brink," an annual review that ranks the state on dozens of factors ranging from health insurance to voter turnout. Despite having the highest birth rate, Texas has the worst rate of women with health insurance. While the state has the second-highest public school enrollment, it ranks last in the percentage of people 25 and older with a high school diploma. And though Texas has the highest percent of its population without health insurance, the state is 49th in per capita spending on Medicaid.

HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs testifies before lawmakers.
HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs testifies before lawmakers.

Facing Budget Cuts, Texas Agency Chiefs Stay Calm

They’re surely facing the worst budget cycle any of them have experienced. Yet in hours of testimony before lawmakers — flanked by the school children and people with disabilities who will be hit hardest by the cuts — the commissioners of Texas’ social services and education agencies appear largely unruffled. Critics say it’s because the agency chiefs are being “good soldiers,” appointed by a Republican governor determined to meet the budget shortfall without new revenue.

Texas Budget Cuts Trickle Down to Local Governments

One lawmaker has proposed a constitutional amendment blocking lawmakers from passing so-called unfunded mandates on to local governments. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, with billions of dollars set to be slashed from the state budget in the coming months, cities, counties and other local governmental bodies worry the costs will come anyway.

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

Rick Perry at CPAC: Local Government Governs Best

In a rock concert-like setting, at times reaching near Howard Dean-like volumes, Gov. Rick Perry used his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington to deliver his resounding message: The government closest to the people is the one that governs best.

Gov. Rick Perry's Symbolic Cuts and His Real Ones

If you’re going to make a bunch of people mad, you should make sure you’re getting something for it. The proposed budget cuts Gov. Rick Perry laid out in his State of the State speech — defunding the states arts and historical commissions, for example — are more symbolic than lucrative and trivialize the cuts that are being made elsewhere in state services and programs.

Dr. Xavier Muñoz treats a patient in El Paso. Muñoz agreed to treat low-income, underinsured patients in return for having his medical school bill repaid — a program that could be eliminated through state budget cuts.
Dr. Xavier Muñoz treats a patient in El Paso. Muñoz agreed to treat low-income, underinsured patients in return for having his medical school bill repaid — a program that could be eliminated through state budget cuts.

Texas Physician Loan Repayment Deal in Jeopardy

More than 100 Texas doctors made a deal with the state: For four years, they would practice in underserved communities and treat the neediest patients — in return for having their med school debt forgiven. The source of the funding? A tax on smokeless tobacco. But just a year into the arrangement, and facing a multibillion-dollar shortfall, state officials may be backing down from their side of the bargain, and using the smokeless tobacco revenue to balance the budget instead.