Moving Forward on Medicaid

A central conceptual problem with Texas’s ongoing resistance to the federal government’s effort to expand Medicaid is that while Texas’s Republican leadership have a point—it would be better to spend money on an efficient entitlement program than a bloated and dysfunctional one—they haven’t fully specified what a Texas approach to Medicaid would entail.

A Band-Aid for Medicaid

The debate over whether Texas should expand its Medicaid program is still raging. Funding the current program, though: that much we can do. The proof came on Tuesday, when the Senate passed its version of HB10, the first supplemental appropriations bill of the session. The bill, which the House of Representatives passed last week, allocates about $4.7 billion from the state’s general revenue accounts to pay for Medicaid spending in the current (2012-2013) biennium.

Party Like It’s 1989?

In the end, the drama in the House resulted from a complete lack of drama. Lawmakers had been gearing up for its initial fight of the session over HB 10, a $4.8 billion supplemental appropriation that would, among other things, cover a looming Medicaid shortfall in the current budget cycle. As one lawmaker commented as he moved briskly down the aisle after the House had been called to order, “Is today the first day of real work?”

ABC News Runs McAllen Medicare Fraud Sting

In June 2009, the New Yorker’s Atul Gawande penned his famous story about health care, “The Cost Conundrum,” in which he reported that McAllen was “one of the most expensive health-care markets in the country,” and that when it came to Medicare specifically, costs were almost twice the national average, with the federally funded program for senior citizens paying for five times as many home-nurse visits.

Medicine Brawl

After Barack Obama won his first term, Rick Perry responded with Fed Up!, the anti-Washington rant that gave him a national profile as a pistol-packing defender of states’ rights and coyote-menaced dogs—and briefly made him a contender for Obama’s job. Now that Obama has four more years, Perry can get to work on a sequel, both to the book and to his White House run.

Forbes: FL & TX governors could cost hospitals billions

The headline of the Forbes story was: RICK PERRY AND RICK SCOTT COULD COST HOSPITALS BILLIONS

From Forbes:

The nation’s state and local public hospitals may face an increase of more than $50 billion in the costs of uncompensated care by 2019 if states decide against participating in an expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

The giant price tag to safety net hospitals for patients who are unable to pay their medical bills comes from a new analysis from the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. The association said the study puts “a dollar figure” on the additional cost of uncompensated care following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

R.G.’s Take: Medicaid, “Dewbamacare,” and Why We All Should Care

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s sincere effort to overhaul state Medicaid to save taxpayers money and improve health care for the poor has become the best jibe of the session, mirthfully described in Capitol hallway whispers as “Dewbamacare.”

That may be nothing more than a joking reference to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derided by conservatives as Obamacare. But political reality suggests something else:  The moniker is designed to kill Dewhurst’s package.

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