Texas lawmakers are expected to debate and pass changes to Medicaid and to allow the formation of health care cooperatives.
The Wednesday afternoon vote is part of the special legislative session to pass laws that will balance the state budget. The bill under consideration would expand the privatization of Medicaid in South Texas and for the first time allow doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to work together to lower costs.
The bill could save the state $467 million.
But opponents worry that it will allow managed care organizations to cut reimbursement rates to doctors. That would result in fewer doctors accepting Medicaid patients, and fewer poor people receiving adequate medical care.
Lawmakers, though, must deal with a $27 billion shortfall and say they have to cut everywhere.