Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek said he’s negotiating a waiver with federal officials that gives the state permission to obtain a federal block grant to expand Medicaid, but people within HHS said they haven’t even completed the application.
In mid-September 2013 Janek received his last instructions from the governor’s office on the terms of what that federal block grant should look like. He was asked last week where the state was in the process of securing federal dollars to design a state program to expand Medicaid.
“We’re still in the process of negotiating with the federal government," Janek said. "We are undertaking the formal process of telling them what we would like, so we are still in the middle of it. These things involve some give and take, some back and forth, in terms of what we’re doing.”
But according to state officials there is no rough draft of that proposal, nor has an application for a block grant been filed. Janek was asked if the State of Texas would apply that same give and take when it comes to setting up a form of Medicaid expansion in order to receive a federal block grant.
“My job is to be the willing person to go in and handle negotiations, the Legislature is going to tell me things, the governor is going direct me in certain ways,” Janek said.
Janek said he is optimistic that once Health and Human Services files the block grant application, the state will be approved. Once that happens he plans to ask the U.S. Center for Medicaid Services to speed up the approval process.