Medicaid is the primary source of health insurance for nearly 3 million poor and low-income Texans. More than 70 percent of them are children of working parents. In fact, 80 percent of Texas Medicaid enrollees live in families earning less than $17,170 per year (100 percent of poverty for a family of three). The rest are elderly and persons with disabilities.
The growth in Medicaid enrollment and costs concern federal and state lawmakers. Texas physicians have worked closely with legislators over the years to develop pragmatic and sound measures to reduce the cost of caring for this growing population. Medicaid is important to the state. Medicaid dollars help keep health care cost down by providing important preventive care, such as prenatal care, childhood immunizations, and well-check visits.
That is why Texas physicians strongly support a moratorium on proposed federal Medicaid regulations that would cut payments to public and teaching hospitals, eliminate funding for graduate medical education, and severely restrict case management services for chronically ill patients. Cutting these funds only shifts these expenses to our state and local governments. Texas Medicaid officials estimate the rules could cost the state $3.4 billion in federal funds over five years. The House and Senate adopted provisions in May to extend the moratorium until April 2009.
Texas physicians also strongly support the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers 444,873 Texas children. CHIP is essential for working parents who need help insuring their children at an affordable price.
Medicine's 2009 Federal Agenda
- Support a moratorium on proposed federal regulations that would destabilize Texas' precarious health care system by slashing $3.4 billion in federal funds.
- Strongly support reauthorization and full funding of CHIP.
- Support Medicaid and CHIP as tools to help states expand affordable health insurance to low-income parents and workers as well as efforts to enroll all children who are eligible but not enrolled.
- Medicaid is a large and integral part of the state's health care delivery system. It is important to all Texas physicians, particularly those along the Texas-Mexico border, in rural areas, and in inner cities. Medicaid changes always affect health care statewide.
- Medicaid and CHIP support thousands of health-related jobs, medical education, and physician training. Medicaid cuts threaten the Texas economy and our ability to teach, train, recruit, and retain much-needed health care professionals.
2009 Federal Legislative Issue Briefs
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