Reps. Veasey, Burgess, Fletcher, and Olson Lead Texas Congressional Delegation in Sending Letter to Protect State’s Medicaid Program

Mar 11, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Representative Marc Veasey (D-TX) along with Reps. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), and Pete Olson (R-TX), led the entire Texas House Congressional Delegation to protect Medicaid funds for Texas hospitals by sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) highlighting several concerns over a proposed rule aimed at altering Medicaid financing, that would detrimentally impact Texas.

“Ensuring health care for all Texans is something we must fight for every day,” said Veasey. “That is why I am proud to lead a  bipartisan group of my fellow Texans to fight against harmful Medicaid rule changes that would cut funding for hospitals across our state and jeopardize health care coverage for the nearly four million Texans that rely on Medicaid. While I am supportive of CMS’ efforts to ensure transparency in the Medicaid program, I believe this proposal would jeopardize Texans’ access to health care, especially in light of the current public health crisis. I urge CMS to reconsider the impact of their revised formulas and instead work with stakeholders and Congress to ensure that our state’s hospitals get the funding they critically rely on to provide vulnerable Texans with the care that they deserve.”

“While I agree with CMS that we need to improve data collection and transparency, it should not come at the cost of Texans who depend upon the state’s Medicaid program,” Burgess said. “As a physician, I am concerned that this proposal would reduce the state’s capacity to provide essential health care services. Also, I am concerned that the new conditions proposed by CMS would prohibit the use of existing approved methods of finance and create ambiguity for the Texas Medicaid program in the future. It would also force the state and local governments to increase taxes. I appreciate fellow members of the delegation joining me in a united front to send this letter to CMS, urging a reconsideration of the payment aspects of this proposed rule. I hope CMS and Congress can work in unison to further transparency and accountability within the Medicaid program.” 

“Roughly four million Texans, including children, rely on Medicaid for their healthcare,” Olson said. “The proposed changes would jeopardize $11 billion in annual payments that Texas hospitals rely on to offset chronic Medicaid underpayment and uncompensated care. While I fully support transparency and accountability in the Medicaid program, this proposal puts patient care in jeopardy at a time when our nation is facing a serious health threat. We should work together to find a solution that increases transparency without placing patient’s healthcare and the hospitals that serve them at risk. I urge CMS to consider the impact their revised formulas would have. I’m proud to have the support of the entire Texas delegation standing united in support of our hospitals in the Lone Star State.”

“The proposed CMS rule would put billions of dollars in federal funding that hospitals across Texas rely on to provide vital medical services at risk,” Fletcher said. “Texas has worked closely with CMS for years to ensure transparency of matching funds, and I am supportive of such efforts, but this proposal would create an undue burden on health care providers and taxpayers across the state.  I am glad to join my colleagues in the Texas delegation who share my concerns to call on CMS to reconsider this proposal and its devastating effect on Texas hospitals and Texans across the state.”

In the letter, the Texas Congressional delegation expressed concerned about the proposed 2019 Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR). If implemented, the rule would change the supplemental payment financing mechanisms. There are concerns that the new conditions proposed by CMS would prohibit the existing approved methods of finance and create ambiguity for the Texas Medicaid program in the future.

The delegation also informed CMS that state and local governments have indicated that they would need to increase taxes to replace the billions of dollars lost and would result in a reduction of the state’s capacity to provide essential health care services.

To read the letter, click here