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 View of the Sunset

The 83rd Lege has started to hear this session's "sunset" bills. The first to come to the House floor, on Wednesday, concerned the Public Utility Commission. It passed, but as Paul Burka explained on BurkaBlog, there was a bit of a scrap on the floor:

Every now and then, the House of Representatives finds itself involved in a battle that no one expected and is of absolutely no consequence. Such a battle occurred yesterday...

A Call to Arms

"For those who can afford it, we have a top-notch legal system," said Wallace B. Jefferson, the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, on March 6th.

He was speaking in the state House of Representatives, to a joint session of the House and Senate. By law, the Texas legislature hears from the state's top judge during every regular session. Jefferson was appointed chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 2004, so it was his fifth "state of the judiciary" address, and perhaps his most ambitious.

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.

Tuesday Night Lights

Outlined against a bright blue February sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: Scott Turner (R-Richardson), Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), and Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches).

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?”

Editor's Letter

Austin is known, somewhat ostentatiously, as the Live Music Capital of the World, but as any longtime resident knows, the best show in town is not a musical performance at all. In fact, it is mostly tuneless, it has little in the way of rhythm, and no one has ever tried to dance to it (except, perhaps, for the occasional lobbyist). I am speaking, of course, about the pageant that descends on the state capital every odd-numbered year, when the 181 members of the Texas state legislature arrive.


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