The Texas House of Representatives passed by a vote of 148-0 a bill to fund a Medicaid IOU bill to ensure there is enough money to continue providing health services to the poorest in Texas–3 million Texans. The bill now goes to the Texas Senate for consideration, and then, hopefully, to the Governor. The bill must be passed and signed within the next month to ensure services are available for the remainder of the fiscal year which ends in August.
The $4.8 billion bill mainly pays for Medicaid costs pushed off two years ago when lawmakers faced the prediction of a massive revenue shortfall. It also covers funding due the Children’s Health Insurance Program and allocates some money needed for schools to get through the fiscal year.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer had filed an amendment to the bill that would have added the $5.4 million cut from public education; however, in order to avoid any delays that may have occurred, he withdrew the amendment. A bipartisan group of State Reps will continue discussions on the matter.
This is just one step that takes care of the cuts from the last two years. Texans must still contact legislators to support a Medicaid expansion, which Rick Perry and other fellow Republican officeholders do not support. Republican governors across the country are changing course and supporting Medicaid expansion, so, this may cause some softening from the right, but the pressure must come from the people.
Likewise, increasing the daily rate for Texas nursing home reimbursements is just as important. Again, it is up to Texans to demand what is right from the Legislature.