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Within the closing days of President Donald Trump’s tenure, the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers agreed Friday to increase for 10 years Texas’ well being care security web for uninsured residents.
The federal funding settlement, often known as the 1115 waiver, reimburses hospitals for the “uncompensated care” they supply to sufferers with out medical health insurance. It additionally pays for modern well being care tasks that serve low-income Texans, typically for psychological well being providers. Security-net hospitals have relied on the waiver to serve poor, uninsured Texans, and it was set to run out — alarming a broad coalition of medical doctors, hospitals and affected person advocates who feared the funding may very well be misplaced.
The brand new settlement will proceed hospital reimbursements till September 2030, however it can enable the innovation fund to run out this yr, based on a government letter announcing the waiver extension. A brand new program can be carried out to partially fund behavioral and psychological well being clinics.
The state’s first 1115 waiver was permitted in 2011 and was meant to be a “bridge” to Medicaid growth below the newly handed Reasonably priced Care Act. However a number of months after the signing of the Texas waiver, a U.S. Supreme Court docket ruling gutted the Medicaid growth portion of the sweeping federal well being legislation. And Republican management in Texas — which has the nation’s highest charge of uninsured residents — stood quick towards increasing Medicaid.
However state officers have labored to maintain the waiver’s federal funding, which was final prolonged for 5 years in 2017 by the brand new federal administration below President Donald Trump. Now, his administration has once more prolonged the waiver as one among its final acts, this time by 10 years.
Some Republicans applauded the extension Friday night time. State Rep. James Frank of Wichita Falls tweeted that the extension will “enable the Lege to concentrate on bettering Medicaid and lowering well being care prices for ALL Texans.”
However these pushing to insure extra Texans criticized the state for searching for an extension early, whereas Trump was nonetheless in workplace, and the federal authorities for approving the request with no public remark interval. Three Texas organizations that advocate for expanded well being care said in a recent letter to the federal authorities that the coronavirus pandemic has left much more folks uninsured.
“Texas has relied on its waiver funding to deal with vital gaps in care that outcome largely from the state’s failure to broaden protection,” the letter stated.