House Republican Plan For Medicaid Expansion Moves Forward

Apr 23, 2013

Proposals were made by both the Republicans and Democrats in the House, but it is House Bill 3791, the Republican "Texas-ccentric" plan, that is heading to the House floor for a vote. 

The plan is to get federal dollars in the form of a block grant that is used to create a state alternative to Medicaid expansion, though the federal government has not said if such a grant will be given.

Several on the House Appropriations Committee felt not enough time was spent discussing the bill, and it was voted out by a close vote, 15 to 9.

"We’ve had a lot of conversation," said Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, who authored the plan, "both in subcommittee and outside of committee. The bottom line is that we are running out of time, and if the House is going to have the opportunity to consider it we need to go ahead and move forward. I do believe, like the chairman said, that this has been very well vetted."

Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Richardson, voted against the bill in committee.

"My biggest concerns are the lack of dialogue regarding what we call the 'Texas Solution' to Medicaid. This bill was brought in the sub-committee, not heard in the entire appropriations committee, as you heard we had about a 30-second summary of the legislation," Carter said.

Much of the Zerwas' plan is contingent on whether the federal government will grant Texas a block grant.  A change in the bill calls for more of reliance on federal aid to implement the state’s answer to reforming Medicaid.