Democratic Congressman Calls on Biden Administration to Restore Medicaid Exemption in Texas | Texas

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(The Center Square) – Texas Democratic Congressman Filemon Vela called on Health and Human Services Secretary and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrators to renew the Texas Section 1115 Medicaid exemption and several payment programs led by Medicaid after several programs. have expired and lack funding.

Vela wrote that CMS must “work quickly” with Texas “to resolve all outstanding issues and come to an agreement” to renew the waiver.

“The recent expiration of a number of programs that provide health services to vulnerable communities in Texas has led to great uncertainty for patients and providers,” he said.

Annual financial support for these programs totals $ 6.3 billion.

According to CMS, several waiver 1115 programs, mainly used by low-income women and children, are either on hold or completed. They include Texas Healthy Women (pending), a quality improvement program (pending), and a women’s health waiver (expired).

Section 1115 is part of the Social Security Act (Section 1915), which allows states to test new or existing ways of providing and paying for health services in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program ( CHIP).

Shortly after Biden took office, his administration rescinded the waiver, not because of material issues with the request, but because of a procedural issue with the documents. CMS Acting Administrator Liz Richter wrote in an April 15 letter to Texas officials that her approval was canceled because “it had not gone through the full federal rule-making process.”

The extension, which was slated to run through 2030, is said to have provided $ 11 billion a year in funding for healthcare in Texas, including unpaid care.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued, arguing that “the Biden administration cannot just break a contract and overthrow the Texas Medicaid system without warning. This disgusting and illegal abuse of power targeting sovereign states must end. “

In August, US District Judge J. Campbell Barker sided with Texas.

Yet three months later, the state still has not received funding and it is wreaking havoc in poorer communities like those along the border in Vela district.

“State health care providers fear that without the financial support of these payment programs, many of the gains made in improving access to health services for the most vulnerable will be jeopardized and that longstanding disparities in the health outcomes of underserved populations living in urban and urban areas of Texas. rural communities will be further exacerbated, ”Vela said.

He called on the Biden administration to find an immediate short-term solution, because “further delays threaten the stability of the existing safety net.”

David Balat, who heads health care initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told The Center Square: Net programs for women and children. Medicaid was created to protect these populations and we must do what we can to improve the current Medicaid program, not stifle existing programs in favor of political ideology.

The rejection of the waiver was seen as an attempt to get Texas to participate in the federal government’s oversight of the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act, a move Texas continues to reject. The Washington Post reported earlier this year that the administration had already forced a dozen recalcitrant states to agree to the Medicaid expansion by canceling funding or through other measures. If Texas were to participate, it would receive $ 3.9 billion in funding over two years and more than two million uninsured people would be eligible for Medicaid coverage, the Post reported.

Paxton described Biden’s “attempt to force our state to expand Medicaid – the Biden administration’s ultimate goal” – as “deplorable” and “illegal.”

CMS has yet to release a statement or response to Vela’s request.

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