April 24, 2019/Media

ICYMI: Texas Tribune — Texas Remove Thousands of Children from Medicaid Each Month

Austin, TX — Earlier this week, the Texas Tribune reported that thousands of kids lose Medicaid each month due to Republican inaction to fix our broken healthcare system.

Texas is currently ranked dead last for healthcare coverage and there are more uninsured children in the state of Texas than any other state in the nation.

Highlights from the Texas Tribune:

  • “Most states check whether children still qualify for Medicaid once a year, when it’s time for them to re-enroll. In Texas, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) uses an automated system to detect income changes in households with children on Medicaid several times a year. That’s led to thousands of kids being abruptly kicked off the program — and data shows that many of those removals were in error.”

  • “Data from HHSC shows that only 1% of households with a child in the Medicaid system were contacted in 2017 and 2018 because they didn’t pass a periodic income check. That amounts to an average of 6,471 households contacted per month. Of those contacted for follow-up, 70% of the children lost coverage.

  • “The majority, an average of 4,162 children per month, are denied due to procedural issues, such as failing to provide income verification. However, just over half regained Medicaid or CHIP coverage within 12 months, suggesting they were dropped from the program prematurely.”

However, there are several Democratic solutions available:

  • House Bill 342, proposed by Rep. Phillip Cortez, aims to give all of the state’s children on Medicaid continuous coverage for a year, with no income checks in the interim. In the Texas Senate, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo has introduced a similar bill Senate Bill 637.

  • House Bill 4016 by Rep. Gina Calanni, creates a pilot program that reduces the number of annual household income verifications for Medicaid participants from five to three, and ensures that these children stay insured for a longer period of time between verifications.

To improve our healthcare system and to ensure that children have the coverage that they are afforded by birthright, Republicans in the Texas Legislature must vote to expand Medicaid and pass House Bill 342, House Bill 4016, and Senate Bill 637 immediately.