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Texas Health Care Providers Bracing for Medicaid Enrollment


Although health centers are receiving state and federal grants to hire staff to help patients apply for Medicaid or tax subsidies, many of the poorest Texans will not qualify for any public assistance.

“Most people really do understand the importance of being insured,” said Cheryl Sproles, the director of community outreach at Su Clinica Familiar. “It’s just going to take us a while to get that message out there.”

The Medicaid enrollment growth set off by the federal health law will leave budget writers in a pinch, costing the state $1.8 billion in 2014 and 2015, according to health commission estimates. That is more than 10 percent of the $17.4 billion the state has budgeted for Medicaid in those years.

“That’s going to represent a significant cost increase to a Medicaid program that has already experienced steady cost increases over the last decade,” said John Davidson, a health policy analyst at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. By choosing not to expand Medicaid eligibility, Davidson added, Texas will avoid other significant cost increases.

More than 75 percent of the state’s 3.7 million Medicaid beneficiaries are children; Texas has strict eligibility rules that provide benefits only to adults who are disabled elderly or extremely poor parents.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Mon, Jul 15 2013

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