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Texas governor unwilling to maximize Medicaid

According to the chief executive officer of one of North Texas' largest health systems, failure to maximize the amount of federal funding that Texas is entitled to receive for Medicaid is not a good idea. The chief executive of Texas Health Resources in Arlington was responding to an inquiry in the Dallas Business Journal regarding Texas Gov. Rick Perry's latest strategy in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act. The governor has stated that he plans to ask for a federal waiver to reform Medicaid as he sees fit without expanding its eligibility.

The executive of the health system stated that it was important that Texas ensure stable and adequate reimbursement for Medicaid for physician and hospital services. He also believed that the state should maximize federal matching funds for Medicaid. He argued that if the state refused to expand Medicaid, Texas would be giving up nearly $100 billion in federal funding within the next 10 years to help pay for residents who qualify for Medicaid eligibility but who are unable to pay for their own healthcare. He continued to say that Texas has the largest amount of uninsured people in the nation, and their healthcare tab will ultimately end up being borne by taxpayers.

Instead of matching dollars for Medicaid services, the governor requested that the Health and Human Services Commission receive a federal block grant. Perry claims he wants a program that reduces dependence on the government, encourages personal responsibility and reins in cost growth while improving the coordination of care within the state.

Advanced planning for Medicaid eligibility is an important part of estate planning. An attorney with experience in elder law may be able to help with issues such as asset protection while preserving Medicaid eligibility.

Source: Dallas Business Journal, "North Texas hospital leaders call failure to maximize Medicaid a mistake", Bill Hethcock, September 17, 2013

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