Doctors Want Lawmakers To Renew Waiver That Would Save Texas $6 Billion In Health Care Costs

The 1115 waiver allows states to be reimbursed for underpayments for care provided to Medicaid recipients.

By Kristen CabreraMarch 7, 2019 12:20 pm

Texas is facing many crises when it comes to health care. There’s the opioid crisis, the shortage of mental health providers, the shortage of rural doctors and the state’s high rate of uninsured people. But there’s a crisis that some say is overlooked: the expiration of a funding agreement with the federal government could cost Texas $6 billion a year.

Dr. Douglas Curran, president of the Texas Medical Association, is one of three doctors who co-authored an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle recently warning that the expiration of the state’s 1115 Medicaid waiver will be costly. The waiver allows states to receive federal money to fully compensate clinics and providers that are underpaid when treating low-income patients. States, including Texas, must negotiate with the federal government to keep the waiver active. 

“Texas had chosen not to take Medicaid expansion,” Curran says. “And by doing that, and turning down that money, the 1115 waiver process becomes even more important.”

Curran wants the legislature to choose alternative methods of tapping federal funds. He says the 1332 waiver is another option.

Curran says state leaders are working to resolve the waiver issue, but that citizens should pressure them to complete that process.

“There is real strength in us speaking together, that we have a concern, we have a need, and let’s address it,” Curran says.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.