50 Texas House Dems: Don’t cut Medicaid therapy funding

FILE - Dena Dupuie says her daughter, Brianna, has made progress thanks to speech and physical therapy-- both of which could be cut due to Texas Medicaid cuts. (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Dena Dupuie says her daughter, Brianna, has made progress thanks to speech and physical therapy-- both of which could be cut due to Texas Medicaid cuts. (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a “Hail Mary” throw, members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus is asking the Obama administration to step in and prevent therapy cuts from impacting care in Texas Thursday.

The letter, signed by all 50 members of the caucus, asked the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to quickly review plans from the State of Texas to reduce acute therapy service costs.

The Republican-led legislature told Texas Health and Human Services Commission to cut about $350 million over two years. Those “rate reductions” take effect July 15.

In April, an appeals court in Texas ruled the state could move forward with the cuts.

“It has become clear that our Republic state leaders are unwilling to stand up for disabled children,” said Rep. Donna Howard in a statement.

Opponents said roughly 60,000 children statewide were potentially in line to lose access to speech and occupational therapists. Republican leaders sent a letter to HHSC to make sure the cuts don’t impact care to Texans. Democrats and the for-profit care providers said it would.

The House Democrats hope the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could intervene and stop the cuts from taking place.

In the letter sent to CMS, the Democrats said the agency should “ensure that the proposed rate reduction does not restrict access to medically necessary therapy services, regardless of the setting…”

The state has always argued that other providers will step up to provide these services. State lawyers argue that a judge has no power to stop these cuts. It was a decision for lawmakers and they made their decision.

 

 

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