TX House Approves Medicaid Changes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas lawmakers passed major changes to Medicaid and voted to allow the formation of health care cooperatives.

The vote was part of the special legislative session to pass laws that will balance the state budget. After a final procedural vote, the measure goes back to the Senate.

The bill expands the privatization of Medicaid in South Texas and for the first time allows doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to work together to lower costs. The bill could save the state $467 million.

But opponents worry that it will allow managed care organizations to cut reimbursement rates to doctors. That would result in fewer doctors accepting Medicaid patients, and fewer poor
people receiving adequate medical care.

Lawmakers must deal with a $27 billion shortfall and say they have to cut everywhere.