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Monday, April 4, 2011

HOUSE PASSES STINGY BUDGET; SENATORS RESTORE MEDICAID CUTS

The Texas House of Representatives worked the first long weekend of the 2011 legislative session, finalizing a proposed 2012-13 state budget that spends $23 billion less than current budget, with deep cuts in education, health, and human services programs. “The House of Representatives must take steps to ensure Texas can maintain its ability to care for our most vulnerable patients ― children, seniors, and people with disabilities and mental illnesses,” TMA President Sue Bailey, MD, said in a press statement before the budget debate began. “If lawmakers choose to shut the door on these patients’ ability to obtain cost-effective care, local taxpayers will be stuck picking up the cost but at a much higher price.” The Senate Finance Committee, meanwhile, is working to pass a more humane and responsible spending plan. Senators voted to eliminate the 10-percent cut to physicians’ Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program payments, to maintain the current level of community-based mental health services, and to fund tobacco cessation programs.

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