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On Friday, a federal district judge temporarily reinstated a ten-year extension of a federal health care program that Texas uses to help pay for uninsured jeans and is worth billions of dollars a year.
The deal was due to expire next year after federal health officials in April rescinded the Trump-era extension of the 1115 waiver agreement that Texas has with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since 2011 and that can be reviewed every few years. and ordered Texas to collect public contributions, as required by the agreement, while renegotiating a new extension beyond the original October 2022 expiration date.
The decision did not stop funding the current waiver, which provides $ 3.788 billion in annual funding to partially offset the free care that Texas hospitals offer to the uninsured and pay for innovative health care projects that serve Texans of low income, often for mental people. health services.
In his order Friday, U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Parker granted a preliminary order requested by Texas to prevent the federal government from overturning the original Trump-era deal. The decision removes the requirement, at least for now, that Texas negotiate its agreement with CMS if it wants 1115 funding beyond October 2022.
CMS’s decision was “probably illegal” and led to “turmoil in the state’s Medicaid program,” in part because the state had already begun “reassigning staff, making plans, appropriating money, approve regulations and hire stakeholders to work on implementing the necessary changes ”allowed by the original agreement, which was confirmed in January before the Biden administration terminated it in April, Barker said in ‘order.
On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had sued to restore the ten-year deal, applauded Barker’s decision, calling the April CMS action “whimsical” and a political ploy by President Joe Biden to pressure the state to expand Medicaid.
“The Biden Administration continues to believe that they can violate federal law over and over again. Here, their disgusting seizure of power would have ripped a $ 30 billion hole in the Texas budget, in addition to having sacrificed welfare of many vulnerable jeans, in addition to this movement, was a flagrant violation of the foundations of a constitutional republic, “Paxton said in a written statement.
According to recent polls, most Texans support the expansion of Medicaid to include millions more, mostly working poor.
The ten-year extension, originally granted in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency, would have continued hospital reimbursements until September 2030, but would have allowed the innovation fund to expire.
The 1115 waiver was supposed to be temporary as Texas moved to an expanded Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, but that never happened because in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states should not they could be forced to expand Medicaid.
Since then, the state has relied on the waiver of several programs to serve uninsured Texas, with Republican state leaders often relying on their arguments against the expansion of Medicaid.
In early May, Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for the decision to terminate the extension, alleging that Biden used it as a political weapon to push Texas to expand its Medicaid program to include more adults. workers.
Proponents of the Medicaid expansion respond that Texas did not meet public notice requirements and that the 1115 waiver and extension have been used to remove growing pressure on conservative state leaders to allow Texans to private insurance cannot be allowed to be eligible for the government program.
In June, two public hearings and a public advisory meeting were held.
Texas, which has the highest rate of residency in the country without health insurance, is one of 12 states that only refused to extend Medicaid eligibility to those earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, as allows the ACA.
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