PUBLIC BENEFITS: HEALTH CARE ACCESS


The center focuses on health care access, immigrants' access to services, food and nutrition, the state's eligibility and enrollment system, and TANF.

Recent Health Care Access Publications

Co-Payments for Adults in Medicaid (10/31/2002)
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) published proposed rules pertaining to "Cost Sharing Requirements for Medicaid Recipients" in the October 11, 2002, issue of the Texas Register. The proposed rules would create co-pay requirements (described below) for most adult Texas Medicaid recipients. A firm start date for the co-payment policy does not appear to have been set, but HHSC has indicated the earliest possible date would be December 16, 2002.

Critical TX Medicaid and CHIP Issues Before U.S. Senate (09/25/2002)
The U.S. Senate soon will consider the Medicare provider "givebacks" bill that is being negotiated in the Senate Finance Committee. Action is expected to begin in the next few days. Three (3) important provisions may be included in this legislation that could greatly benefit all Texas Medicaid programs (from children to the elderly and disabled), as well as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Taken together these provisions would help substantially reduce Texas' Medicaid and CHIP funding challenges both immediately and over the long term.

Medicaid and State Budgets: A Case Study of Texas (03/1/2002)
Like most state governments, Texas has recently marked the end of several-year interlude during which slow Medicaid growth briefly suspended the program's image as a top state budget growth driver. Substantial caseload declines from 1996 to 2000 have now been replaced with a steady upward trend, matched with highly robust enrollment in the state's separate SCHIP program. With these trends afoot, it is helpful to pause and review Medicaid's place in Texas' state budget.

Why Talk of a CHIP Shortfall So Early? (01/17/2002)
Presumably, it was never the intent of the Legislature to under-fund CHIP. There is every indication that legislators believed they had adequately funded the program in May 2001. When SB 1, the appropriations act for Texas' 2002-2003 budget was adopted, there were no public discussions at all suggesting that freezing or capping CHIP enrollment was anticipated, despite the fact that the program was allocated $14 million state dollars (general revenue: GR) less than had been requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). HHSC asked stakeholders in August for input on CHIP cost-cutting approaches, but indicated that the information was for long-term planning rather than any nearterm concern. In October 2001, there was statewide press coverage when increased premium rates for CHIP health plans were negotiated. Nowhere in the discussion of these increases by state agency staff or Legislators was there any mention of a threat to cap or freeze CHIP enrollment.

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