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February 28, 2011 (512) 463-0300

MEDICAID SUBCOMMITTEE BEGINS FINALIZING RECOMMENDATIONS

(AUSTIN) — Members of the Senate Subcommittee on Medicaid have until Friday to deliver a report to the full Finance committee on fixing the predicted $10 billion Medicaid shortfall. The panel will spend the week considering hundreds of recommendations, some that will save thousands of dollars, others that could save hundreds of millions of dollars. Medicaid is one of the largest cost drivers in the state budget, and if lawmakers hope to balance the state budget for the next biennium, they will have to make tough decisions regarding critical healthcare services. "We have got to find some cost savings. I know we're not all going to agree, but we've got to start talking about tough recommendations that we're going to make," said subcommittee Chair Senator Jane Nelson.

Some proposed savings come from increased efficiencies. One example is requiring proof of services rendered from home healthcare workers before reimbursement. Federal rule changes will allow the state to draw down more money for children's health insurance. Other proposals include reducing Medicaid reimbursement for non-emergency services performed in the ER and getting new Medicaid enrollees into a managed care plan faster.

Nelson said she had intended on voting on some recommendations Monday, but some subcommittee members wanted more time to consider the impact of the proposed cuts. Recommendations are divided into three lists; consensus choices that most members agree on, proposals that will not be recommended to the full committee, and recommendations for further consideration. Nelson gave members the afternoon and evening to look at the potential consequences of the recommendations, but she wants to begin moving forward with the final report by voting on proposals when the subcommittee meets Tuesday. "Tomorrow, we've got to start talking about how to come up with some of this $10 billion we've got to come up with," she said.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, March 1 at 11 a.m.


Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.

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