Legislature Looking at Making Drastic Medicaid Cuts

The Texas Legislature has convened and Tuesday night they got their first look at a proposal that is slashing budgets to many agencies.  Perhaps one of the most drastic cuts could be in the form of medicaid.

The Texas Health Care Association even goes as far to say it could be an end to nursing home care in Texas.  In a press release sent out on Wednesday, President of the THCA Tim Graves stated, "If this proposal proceeds, nursing home care in Texas will cease to exist.  This draconian action is a clear disconnect between what is being proposed in Austin, and the damage that will actually occur in local lawmakers' home districts."

There are several proposed cuts being thrown out there, some say 10 percent cuts to Medicaid providers, other agencies say the cuts are much higher at 33 percent.  No matter the number, agencies say it will have a catastrophic affect.  The proposed legislative reductions will affect hospitals, physicians, in home health care, and nursing homes.

"There's just no where for that cut to go, but for nursing facilities to hire fewer staff, and we
know fewer staff at nursing care facilities affect the quality of care," said Amanda Fredriksen, Texas Director of Advocacy with the AARP.

The state already ranks second to last in the nation when it comes to medicaid reimbursement, many facilities are just barely getting by.

The proposal also makes it burdensome for in home care takers.  The supply of workers will shrink considering the state could slash their rates, but it also makes it more expensive for the state because community care services cost significantly less than nursing home care.

"Community care services that are in the $800 range to $1,500 for the state are a much better deal for the state and it also helps consumers be where they want to be, that's in home and in the community," said Fredriksen.

Physicians who take Medicaid will looking at discontinuing that, thus making it more difficult for patients to find a doctor.

The Oklahoma Legislature is looking at cuts too.  State health officials say the state will likely stop paying for kidney dialysis treatments, prescription drugs, and certain medical equipment for low-income adults.  The state expects to face a $600 million shortfall.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.