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Congressman Joaquin Castro

Representing the 20th District of Texas

CASTRO, GREEN URGE CMS TO EVALUATE HARMFUL TEXAS MEDICAID CUTS

Sep 11, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Congressmen Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Gene Green (TX-29) today sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting the agency evaluate impending harmful Medicaid cuts scheduled to go into effect in Texas. If state leaders do not act, an estimated 60,000 Texas children will lose access to medically necessary therapy services on October 1. Every Texas Democrat in Congress signed Castro and Green's letter calling on CMS to ensure that the cuts do not negatively affect vulnerable children and patients who rely on these critical services.  
 
"Depriving Texas children of essential medical care is unacceptable," said Rep. Castro. "Texas Democrats in Congress could not sit idly by and watch the youngest patients in our state lose access to treatments they require. Families need their state leaders to step up and fix this looming problem before it's too late. Until that happens, it's up to the federal government to ensure our children receive the therapies their doctors have ordered."
 
"We are concerned that these cuts will reduce providers and access to care for thousands of Texans," said Rep. Green. "It is important that CMS review the methodology and rationale behind them so that cognitive and developmental treatments that may impact a child's well-being aren't cut."
 
Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to make $150 million worth of reductions in general revenue over the FY 2016-2017 state biennium to Medicaid acute care therapy services through a combination of rate reductions and policy changes. The first of the Medicaid rate reductions are scheduled to go into effect on October 1. 
 
Text of the members' letter is included below.
 
 
[BEGIN LETTER TEXT]
 
Andrew Slavitt
Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 445-G
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201 
 
 
Dear Acting Administrator Slavitt: 
 
As you know, there are over four million Medicaid recipients in the State of Texas, including a significant number of children that have an immediate issue facing them that demands urgent attention. 
 
Specifically, we are concerned that the severity of the rate reductions being proposed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will have a devastating impact on the ability of children to access medically necessary therapy services. 
 
As background, the first of the rate reductions were scheduled to take effect September 1, 2015 and are now scheduled to be implemented October 1, 2015. Rider 50 (c), H.B. 1, 84th Texas Legislature, directs the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to make $150 million worth of reductions in general revenue over the FY 2016-2017 state biennium to Medicaid acute care therapy services through a combination of rate reductions and policy changes.
 
It is our understanding that the state will have to submit a State Plan Amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement the proposed rate reductions. 
 
We would urge CMS to carefully review any rate reductions to acute care therapy services submitted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to ensure that the amount of rate reductions and the methodology being employed by the state to implement rate reductions does not restrict access to medically necessary therapy services, regardless of setting.  
 
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,
                                    
 
Gene Green                                                                 
Member of Congress   
 
Joaquin Castro
Member of Congress   
 
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Member of Congress   
 
Lloyd Doggett
Member of Congress   
 
Sheila Jackson Lee
Member of Congress   
 
Ruben Hinojosa
Member of Congress   
 
Henry Cuellar  
Member of Congress   
 
Al Green
Member of Congress   
 
Beto O'Rourke
Member of Congress   
 
Mark Veasey
Member of Congress   
 
Filemon Vela 
Member of Congress   

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