in Houston, Texas
Texas Rep. Lois Kolkhorst plans strategy to advance health care compacts bill
Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011, 05:00PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Texas state Capitol

Much like she did in the in the regular session, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst said this afternoon she is prepared to offer an amendment to attach her health care compacts bill to a broader health bill key to the state budget in order to get her measure passed.

Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, has carried what is now called Senate Bill 5 like an Olympic torch, hoping to convince the House and the Senate that having Texas enter into health care agreements with other states and disengage from federal authority will save the state billions of Medicaid dollars.

The House was supposed to consider Senate Bill 7, an amalgam of three bills that offers broad state-driven Medicaid reforms, sometime Wednesday. The bill had not been raised by 4:30 p.m.
Lois KolkhorstKOLKHORST

In brief discussion after she left the House floor, Kolkhorst told Texas Watchdog she worried the health care compacts bill, if left standing by itself, might be lost in the agitated shuffle of a special session.

A health care compact, she said, would give states leverage they have gradually lost to the federal government in their control over how Medicaid dollars are spent in their particular states.

Kolkhorst’s compacts bill includes a request of the federal government to give its share of Medicaid funding to Texas in the form of a block grant.

Georgia and Oklahoma have passed similar compacts bills.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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