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House Democrats Announce 'Texas Plus' Medicaid Expansion Plan

Chris Eudaily

The House Appropriations Committee was packed - some witnesses having to sit in the aisles of the auditorium - as Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, laid out his plan to accept Medicaid expansion with a few adjustments to satisfy Republicans.

"It calls for cost sharing, which includes co-payments, and it calls for deductibles.  I know that people get attached to the phraseology 'Medicaid expansion,' and so madam chair, this is not Medicaid expansion, this is Texas plus or Medicaid plus one," Turner said.

Even with these changes, others like John Davidson with the Texas Public Policy Foundation said there are too many obvious flaws with Medicaid at the federal level. 

Davidson told a House committee that several Texas doctors no longer accept Medicaid because of the red tape involved.

Davidson: "The other is declining reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers."

Donna Howard, D-Austin: "Why are those declining?"

Davidson: "One of the reasons for declining rates is the rising cost of care." 

Howard: "Who sets the reimbursement rates?"

Davidson: "The legislature for the state of Texas."

Howard: "State legislatures determines the lower reimbursement rates."

Howard authored an amendment during the House’s budget debate that would increase doctor’s reimbursement rates, but it was voted down. 

The House Republican plan to get federal money will be unveiled during today's appropriations committee.