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House Republicans Put Forward Second Option For Medicaid Expansion

Chris Eudaily

After hearing the Democratic plan to accept Medicaid expansion dollars, a House appropriations subcommittee heard the leading Republican plan that calls for not taking the money, and instead asks the federal government for a block grant.

"The second part of the bill establishes the parameters and criteria, which I believe, after many discussions, are crucial to providing certain low-income individuals with meaningful health coverage through the purchase of private market solutions in our state," said Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, who authored the plan.

This means the state would set up low-cost insurance plans for those without coverage, but the Obama administration has not indicated that they would be interested in awarding Texas a block grant for such a system.

"Finally, the bill states if we are unable to reach an agreement with a CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services) regarding the use of federal funds to cover these low-income individuals, we will move forward with the development of a cost-neutral state plan in order to reduce the number of uninsured, and reduce the uncompensated care across the state," Zerwas said.

The money to set this plan in motion comes from the premium tax rate collected from insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. 

Zerwas estimates the amount of people signing up for insurance in the next two years will increase and under his plan the state would use the tax money to pay for 16 percent of those who fall into the Medicaid expansion population.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.