2013 Lege–Medicaid & CHIP

There’s plenty happening with Medicaid and CHIP this session. The first big hurdle in 2013 will be ensuring that the “Medicaid IOU”–$3.7 billion at HHSC, and another $1 billion at DADS = $4.7 billion total–gets paid in full quickly by the 83rd Legislature, because the agencies can’t keep paying doctors, hospitals, etc. past March 2013. The Legislature cut Medicaid/CHIP provider payments in 2010 and have not given regular updates for two decades, so how to keep doctors and dentists will once again be part of the mix.

There will be those in the dome who seek to end Medicaid’s guarantees of coverage for the poorest and minimum standards for benefits.  These will mirror conversations in Washington, so expect a two-front war where Medicaid is concerned.  A variety of proposals will seek to extend and revise how Texas Medicaid uses HMOs.  Perhaps most important—in terms of the millions of Texans and billions of federal dollars for our economy at stake—will be Texas’ opportunity to cover over a million TX citizen adults in Medicaid, with a better than $9 federal match for every $1 Texas spends.  There may or may not be major legislation moving related to Texas’ Medicaid decision, but every legislator will learn about this issue and what it means for the communities they represent.

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