Medicaid

Texas lawmakers are debating the future of the state’s Medicaid program and looking at ways to cut services and costs. But a bigger question looms in the discussion: will a major chunk of the money even be there next year?

From the Here & Now contributor newtork, KUT’s Ashley Lopez reports.

For decades, if people on Medicaid wanted to get treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, they almost always had to rely solely on money from state and local sources.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome  is just one of the reasons why Texas has an infant mortality rate that’s among the worst for industrialized nations. Other reasons include large portions of poverty in the state and many in the population who don't have access to health care. The state also has a problem with the death rate for women who die in child birth.

Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death. Even those who survive an early birth can face lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy and developmental delays.

The 22 states that didn't expand Medicaid eligibility as part of Obamacare last year saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents.

It's a counterintuitive twist for those states whose governors, most Republicans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, chose not to accept federal funds to extend Medicaid to more people.

Shelley Kofler / KERA-Dallas

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it is moving forward with cuts to Medicaid rates which were voted on by state lawmakers in the last legislative session.

Health care advocates say the plan will cause a $350 million drop in Medicaid payments to health care providers.

Supporters of the cuts have said this will bring Medicaid rates in Texas more in line with where rates should be.

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