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"We Know What the Answer Is"

By: 
Policy Analyst

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article II (Health and Human Services) heard invited and public testimony on two interim charges this week. Legislators heard testimony on Charge 11 that includes how Texas would respond to federal changes in healthcare dollars like a Medicaid block grant. There was also much discussion on Charge 12–Medicaid cost-containment efforts particularly with regard to long-term care.

Advocates, industry experts, and faith leaders provided keen insight into these issues including Texas Impact Executive Director, Bee Moorhead. She testified on Texas’s past approach to a Medicaid block grant, and why expanding Medicaid now could help ensure that Texas would be less disadvantaged in the future. Bee Moorhead, Laura Guerra-Cardus, Deputy Director of Children’s Defense Fund, and Dennis Borel, Executive Director of Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, all answered questions from Chair Sarah Davis about why Texas should expand Medicaid if it is likely that the federal government will increasingly push Medicaid costs to the state.

Dennis Borel said that he does not believe that we are facing a future of fewer resources, “because there are ways to do cost-containment in Medicaid…keeping people as healthy as possible instead of letting them descend into sicker states.”

Bee Moorhead said, “It doesn’t sit well with our local communities to say that, ‘well because it’s possible that sometime in the future we might have to figure out an alternative, we’re just never going to let you have it at all.’”

A clip of the entire conversation can be seen here.

Rev. Bill Gaventa in his testimony spoke about ways to sustainably support direct services providers.

Rep. Gene Wu summed it up by comparing the issue to the conversations about CPS–particularly the inability to retain workers and services. He said CPS had the same retention problem, but the recent bump in funding helped. “We have the same fight every time, we have all these problems…getting services to the people who need it, we don’t know what the answer is. Well…we know what the answer is, we just never get there.”

His full statement can be seen here.

 

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