TX GOP Wants Medicaid Flexibility, Not Expansion

Texas Capitol Building in Austin. AP

Texas Senate Republicans have sent a letter to President Barack Obama, demanding that their state be allowed to make sweeping changes in how it administers the Medicaid program.

At a news conference Monday announcing the letter, Sen. Charles Schwertner said Medicaid's rising costs were unsustainable.

He likened the joint federal-state program providing health care for the poor and disabled, to "gold-plated handcuffs." Schwertner said that means it is funding overburdened by federal mandates.

But Schwertner also said that unless Texas is allowed to institute "commonsense, conservative reforms," then expanding the program under the White House's signature health care law "is simply not worth discussing."

Continuing to reject a key component of the health care law, though, may make it hard for Texas to negotiate Medicaid concessions with the Obama administration.

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