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Senate Panel OKs Expanding Managed Care to Valley

A bill designed to find cost savings and efficiencies in Texas' costly Medicaid program — and, more controversially, expand managed care into the Rio Grande Valley — is moving to Senate budget writers for consideration.

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A bill designed to find cost savings and efficiencies in Texas' costly Medicaid program — and, more controversially, expand managed care into the Rio Grande Valley — is moving to Senate budget writers for consideration. 

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, authored SB23, which passed unanimously out of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Medicaid today. It would: 

— Save $290 million over the biennium by expanding Medicaid managed care into the Rio Grande Valley, and counties that currently have a ban on implementation of managed care. (This applies to Cameron, Hidalgo and Maverick counties.)

— Save $51 million by carving prescriptions drugs into Texas' Medicaid managed care programs — requiring most Medicaid patients to use medicines on a state preferred drug list. 

— Save $15.9 million by moving children from the State Kids Insurance Program to the Children's Health Insurance Program. 

— Save $28 million by requiring Texans with disabilities who receive in-home "attendant" care services to get it through a Medicaid state program first, at a lower cost to the state.

The measure now heads to the full Senate Finance Committee, which is crafting its version of the much-reduced budget for 2012-13.  

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