Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

News

May 8, 2012

Democratic Texas Senators question Medicaid cuts

AUSTIN — Democratic state senators on Tuesday questioned whether cuts in Medicaid could lead to a shortage of doctors willing to treat the poor, elderly and disabled.

El Paso Sen. Jose Rodriguez said he was worried whether the state will have enough doctors willing to participate in program.

"Back in El Paso, I hear it all the time from people saying that because of these rate cuts that it is affecting access to health care, people are scaling down their Medicaid patient load," he said.

But State Medicaid Director Billy Millwee said that, so far, the data his agency has collected shows no impact on the availability of doctors.

"Are there providers who say they will not take Medicaid anymore? We hear that, but we don't see that in our data," he said. "I don't know if our data is premature for that, or if it is not an access to care issue."

The Senate's Health and Human Services Committee listened to public testimony about Medicaid on Tuesday. During the hearing, Millwee acknowledged that cuts in payments to health care providers took $500 million out of the health care economy, resulting in complaints.

But he said what matters to the agency is not making health care providers happy, but making sure patients get the care they need.

Texas lawmakers cut $15 billion from the state budget last year, including $3.1 billion from the Medicaid program.

Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, focused Tuesday on a 14 percent cut in the Early Childhood Intervention program, which provides assistance to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities. Officials testified that after the Legislature cut funding, the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services changed the criteria and cut 10,000 children a year from the program.

West said the state should consider restoring the $45 million cut from the program.

"If we can catch some developmental issues early on and we treat those issues, we'll be saving money down the road," he said.

Gov. Rick Perry has warned that Medicaid costs represent a major challenge to the state budget, and he has called for lawmakers to get the program under control. Experts have said Texas lawmakers underfunded Medicaid by $4.8 billion in the current two-year budget and will likely face a $10 billion shortfall when they meet again next year.

Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said her committee has worked hard to find efficiencies while maintaining necessary services.

But as much of the questioning focused on problems created by budget cuts, Nelson tried to steer Millwee's testimony toward what was achieved.

Millwee said his agency had achieved about 88 percent of the cost-savings mandated in the current budget.

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday
    morning.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee County arrests: July 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    July 19, 2014