Poor kids’ docs receive at least ray of hope/Texas Health Insurance


Primary care doctors and physicians who are pediatric specialists received good news minutes ago when state social services czar Tom Suehs said his top priority is avoiding additional cuts in their fees from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“I am very sensitive to access to care,” Suehs said, referring to Texas doctors’ declining level of participation in the two government health care programs for the poor.

Suehs wants the 10 percent provider cut in the Senate budget to be pared back to 2 percent for the children’s doctors. He asked the Senate Finance Committee for restoration of about $125 million in state funds over the next two years – which would draw down a federal match of $190 million.

But the overall picture is bleak for Medicaid, which is spread across Suehs’ agency, the Health and Human Services Commission, and the Department of Aging and Disability Services. Legislative staff said its two year budget would drop by 29 percent, from about $49 billion to about $35 billion under the Senate’s tentative budget.

Elderly and disabled adults would lose still-to-be-determined benefits from Medicaid.

The Senate budget calls for spending on the so-called “optional services” to be cut by 10 percent. Suehs said they include prescription drugs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, even kidney dialysis treatments.

“That’s great. Would you repeat that?” said Sen.John Whitmire, D-Houston.

Suehs repeated it.

Under prodding by Sen.Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, though, Suehs wouldn’t tip his hand on which benefits would disappear.

“I have not come up with my recommendation on that 10 percent,” he said.


Texas Health Insurance

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