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Monday, April 1, 2013


The question of whether Texas should expand Medicaid to cover more of the working poor returns to the state Capitol spotlight this week, beginning with a news conference this morning with Gov. Rick Perry. Most political observers expect the governor — who will be joined by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville), and others — to reinforce his opposition to expanding Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and push for the federal government to give Texas more flexibility in how it manages the program. TMA supports a solution for Texas that fixes our broken Medicaid system and allows physicians to provide patient care in a more efficient and affordable fashion. We want to improve Medicaid patients’ access to timely and affordable medical care by increasing physician payments to equal Medicare rates, reducing red tape and administrative hassles, and ensuring fair fraud-and-abuse investigations. The expansion question could come up again later in the week, when the Texas House of Representatives debates its version of the 2014-15 state budget. Among the 267 amendments prefiled for the debate is one saying that Medicaid payments to physicians and providers should increase if the state goes for expansion. State Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), the chief health and human services budget writer in the House, told the San Antonio Express-News that he welcomes the discussion. “There are a lot of people having conversations, but there hasn’t been a conversation on the floor of the House about that,” Dr. Zerwas said, “and the budget is a good time to possibly consider that.”

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