Tribpedia: Medicaid

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Hamilton on saving small towns with culture, E. Smith's interview with Senate candidate Michael Williams, Grissom on budget writers killing a program but keeping the fee that pays for it, Galbraith on the anniversary of the Texas secession fight, M. Smith on what's protected from public school budget cuts, Aguilar on efforts to catch illegal immigrants where they work, and Ramshaw on adopted kids who end up on the same watch lists as the people who abuse them: The best of our best from January 31 to February 4.

A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.
A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.

Texas Won't Secede — But It Won't Shut Up Either

Texas leaders aren't talking about secession, after an outbreak of conversation a couple of years ago. But the germ of the idea remains in the anti-federalist talking points that fueled Gov. Rick Perry’s re-election campaign last year and provided the outline for his book, Fed Up!

Odiel Rodriguez, a physician assistant, checks a patient's file at Ashley Pediatrics Day and Night Clinic in Pharr. Family practitioners fear what budget cuts will mean for the funding that keeps them in business.
Odiel Rodriguez, a physician assistant, checks a patient's file at Ashley Pediatrics Day and Night Clinic in Pharr. Family practitioners fear what budget cuts will mean for the funding that keeps them in business.

Are Payment Reform, Texas Budget In Conflict?

Lawmakers are crafting legislation to make health care more affordable and effective by rewarding doctors who get the best medical outcomes. But the cuts they're proposing to meet the state's budget shortfall could hinder some of the same physicians they're relying on to implement payment reform.

David Dewhurst: The TT Interview

The lieutenant governor believes he knows how to save Texas money and improve patient care by overhauling how doctors and hospitals are paid: with carrots, not sticks. In an interview with the Tribune, he talks about what he sees as the root of the health care crisis, and his proposed solutions.

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

Suehs Warns Lawmakers On Health Cuts

Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs pulled no punches when he warned Senate lawmakers today what proposed budget cuts will mean: either cutting the number of people served, or the money paid to those who care for them.  

Medicaid Cuts Worry Texas Nursing Homes

Texas agencies facing the budget ax say the only thing left to cut are the services they fund. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on fears that many of the state's nursing homes could be forced to dramatically cut back or even close as a result.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on what happens — and doesn't — when police don't analyze evidence taken from rape victims, Dehn with video highlights of the Senate debate over photo voter ID, Aguilar on the more than three dozen immigration-related bills waiting for attention in the Legislature, M. Smith on what to do with empty school buildings, Ramshaw on what will happen to hospitals if Medicaid managed care is expanded, C. Smith on how the state's budget cuts could affect churches and other faith-based organizations, Philpott's report for the Trib and KUT News on how the tight state budget could affect mental health care, yours truly on why the initial budget proposal isn't really a plan for state spending, Stiles with a searchable database of the latest campaign finance reports, and Galbraith on the rising use of coal and wind to generate electricity in Texas: The best of our best from January 24 to 28, 2011.

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton
State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton

John Zerwas: The TT Interview

The state representative and anesthesiologist from Simonton on why he filed the House's first bill to implement a key piece of federal health-care reform and was the first in his party to openly suggest that dropping out of Medicaid wasn't such a great idea after all. 

Imam Islam Mossad of the North Austin Muslim Community Center recites the Islamic call to prayer to start Texas Impact's interfaith prayer service on the capitol steps on the first day of session. Members of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith traditions gathered to pray for legislators and to ask that they act as responsible shepherds for the people of Texas.
Imam Islam Mossad of the North Austin Muslim Community Center recites the Islamic call to prayer to start Texas Impact's interfaith prayer service on the capitol steps on the first day of session. Members of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith traditions gathered to pray for legislators and to ask that they act as responsible shepherds for the people of Texas.

Keeping the Faith

  • 2Comments

Like many other Texas groups, faith organizations that lobby lawmakers are bracing for a brutal budgetary session. It’s not only a moral issue for the religious groups; it concerns their own bottom lines, too. Because when the government doesn’t provide for the needy, the needy look to the church.

Dr. Carlos Cardenas, chairman of the board at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, performs an exam on a patient on Wednesday December 8, 2010. Many Texas hospitals like this one oppose certain aspects of the proposed expansion of Medicaid managed care.
Dr. Carlos Cardenas, chairman of the board at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, performs an exam on a patient on Wednesday December 8, 2010. Many Texas hospitals like this one oppose certain aspects of the proposed expansion of Medicaid managed care.

Managed Into the Red?

Texas hospital administrators aren't thrilled about the 10 percent Medicaid provider rate cut included in the House's proposed budget. But what they fear more is the proposed expansion of Medicaid managed care, which could force them to forgo a combined $1 billion a year in federal funding.

State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, lays out House Bill 1.
State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, lays out House Bill 1.

A Chicken Little Budget

Whatever budget lawmakers eventually approve will serve as the working blueprint for the state for the two years starting in September. But the budget released last week isn’t a blueprint — it’s a political document. It marks the shift from the theoretical rhetoric of the campaigns to the reality of government.

Pick Your Poison

In the House, it's the nastiest, ugliest budget anybody's seen in a zillion years. In the Senate, they'll start on Monday with voter ID, the issue that froze the Legislature two years ago.

Budget Blues

As House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, laid out the first grim round of proposed cuts on Wednesday, even some of his Republican colleagues couldn't stifle their objections. House Democrats went a step further, calling the cuts "akin to asking an anorexic person to lose more weight." 

Back to Basics

As be begins his second decade as governor, Rick Perry's plan is to deal with the basics: to make sure the state is on a smooth economic path, to pass a balanced state budget, to coax the federal government into loosening its purse strings and tightening its security on the Mexican border.

Residents of East Texas, and particularly minorities, often make lifestyle choices, like smoking and eating high-fat diets, that affect their life expectancy.
Residents of East Texas, and particularly minorities, often make lifestyle choices, like smoking and eating high-fat diets, that affect their life expectancy.

The Stroke Belt

The proof of East Texas' live-hard, die-young culture is in the bread pudding — and the all-you-can-eat fried catfish, the drive-through tobacco barns and the doughnut shops by the dozen. In a community where heavy eating and chain smoking are a way of life, where poverty, hard-headedness and even suspicion hinder access to basic health care, residents die at an average age of 73, or seven years earlier than the longest-living Texans, according to a preliminary county-by-county analysis by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

TribBlog: Steady Medi(caid)

Thirteen states expanded Medicaid or CHIP eligibility last year, and 14 states made improvements in enrollment and renewal procedures. Texas didn't fall into either of these categories, but the state held steady in 2010, while making improvements in technology to prepare for the roll-out of federal health care reform.

House Speaker Joe  Straus, R-Alamo Heights, in January 2011.
House Speaker Joe Straus, R-Alamo Heights, in January 2011.

Decision Time

The Texas Legislature today starts its 140-day effort to puzzle out a massive budget deficit, political redistricting, immigration and a slew of other gnarly problems. The budget issues came into focus Monday with new numbers from the comptroller, who says the state is recovering, slowly, from the recession. But first, legislators will get organized, voting on new rules, a new Speaker, and getting sworn in.

Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays is shown with resident Rebecca Hadnot in 2011.
Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays is shown with resident Rebecca Hadnot in 2011.

Discharged?

Advocates for shuttering Texas' institutions for people with disabilities say they have a big plus in their column this session: the state’s giant budget crunch. 

The Revenue Guesstimate

Lawmakers are waiting for Comptroller Susan Combs to forecast exactly how much money the state will collect between now and August 2013 so they can write a two-year budget that spends no more than that. It's not exactly like opening the envelopes at the Oscars, but the Capitol community will be hanging on her every word. If history is a guide, her estimate of revenues will be closer to the bull's eye than the Legislature's estimate of spending. But this is a dark art; accuracy can be elusive.