in Houston, Texas
State health chief says $15 billion+ needed to offset Medicaid growth in Texas
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012, 05:58PM CST
By Mark Lisheron

A year ago the Texas Public Policy Foundation commissioned a report that predicted Medicaid without dramatic reform would bankrupt Texas and every other state.

Tom Suehs told Texas Hospital Association administrators today the day of reckoning might be coming a lot sooner than the study, Final Notice: Medicaid Crisis predicted, Quorum Report posted this afternoon.

The Legislature in its next session will need to add $15 billion to $17 billion in general revenue to offset the wild growth of Medicaid in the state, Suehs, the executive commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, says.

(Please note: The entire story is available only to Quorum Report subscribers.)

Legislators made a decision in the last session not to fully fund Medicaid in an effort to pass a legally required balanced budget, Suehs told hospital administrators.The bill, he says, is coming due.

Suehs told the Hospital Association conference he has played Medicaid doomsayer with the Legislature before.

“I basically said something to the effect, ‘I don’t see how the Legislature’s gonna get out of this session without some form of revenue.’ I got in trouble for that,” Suehs said. “And I’m going to say the same thing today. I think I have a little bit more data with me today.”

In its own doomsday prediction, the Public Policy Foundation said program growth alone would eventually outstrip the state’s ability to pay for it. The expansion of public health care through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would add an estimated $31.2 billion to $38.6 billion to the overall growth in Medicaid of $112 billion between 2014 and 2023.

Make that overall growth of $127 billion to $129 billion in Medicaid with the Suehs adjustment.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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