Texas Republicans Demand More Medicaid Flexibility From White House

State lawmakers sent a letter to President Barack Obama outlining several demands for more control over Medicaid in Texas.

From left to right: State Senator Charles Schwertner and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in a recent press conference.

Texas Republican lawmakers are demanding more flexibility from the federal government on how to implement Medicaid. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick joined State Senator Charles Schwertner in a press conference Monday afternoon to announce a letter they are sending to the White House. The letter outlines several demands for how the state administers the Medicaid program. Patrick said the cost trajectory of Medicaid is unsustainable and Texas will not expand the program.

“In fact, SB 2 currently provides $24.8 billion in general revenue funds just to keep the current program afloat,” Patrick said. “In order to keep costs under control and insure a sustainable program, we must have the flexibility from the federal government to manage our own Medicaid in our state.”

Some of the demands include tying Medicaid benefits to work requirements for able-bodied adults, personal accountability like cost-sharing and missed appointment fees, and exemptions from several rules associated with the Affordable Care Act.

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Democrats call the letter a non-starter. The Texas Organizing Project, a left-leaning advocacy group, issued a statement saying the demands in the letter will lead to even more uninsured Texans. They called on lawmakers to look for real solutions to expand access to health care.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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