There's some good news for the Texans who still lack health insurance coverage because of Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. The federal government has extended a program that provides much-needed funding for Texas hospitals providing care to uninsured patients. But the billions of dollars required could be better used for providing health insurance instead of reimbursing costly emergency room care.
From the Texas Tribune:
The agreement does not include a reduction in the uncompensated care money, allowing hospitals to draw down some $3.1 billion in federal and local funds each year.
The program, known as the 1115 waiver, was originally intended to help Texas expand its privatized managed care health insurance system for Medicaid patients and to cover spiraling uncompensated care costs borne by hospitals.
Thanks to the generosity of the Obama administration, Texas hospitals will continue to receive federal funding to treat uninsured patients under the 1115 waiver for another 15 months.
The waiver was supposed to be a temporary program, intended to expire in September. The federal government has repeatedly said that if Texas doesn’t expand Medicaid, the state will eventually lose the 1115 funds.
But instead of exploring solutions, Republicans are rolling the dice in hopes that the federal government will keep bailing them out, jeopardizing health care for millions of Texans that they were elected to serve.
President Obama bailed them out this time. But if Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and the Texas Legislature don’t come up with a solution by September 2017, don’t expect Texas to get bailed out again.
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