KXAN: U.S. Rep. Doggett files bill aiming to close Medicaid coverage gap in Texas by giving power to local governments

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Nearly 2 million Texans who currently fall into the Medicaid coverage gap could soon have better access to health care coverage if a Texas-based bill passes congress.

That gap refers to Texans who make too much money to qualify for full Medicaid coverage, but too little to qualify for subsidized coverage in the marketplace. Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) thinks he found a way to work around state barriers with the Cover Now Act.

“Let’s empower local governments to offer to their neighbors Medicaid expansion and do it on the same terms that applied to the state when it rejected this session after session,” Doggett said at a news conference Monday.

The Democratic representative said the bill will allow local entities to apply directly for federal funding that the state already qualifies for, but refuses to accept.

Rep. Doggett acknowledged that the bill would only be a success with cooperation from the states.

“We need access, for example, to the state Medicaid rolls. And so in this bill, we provide an incentive to the state with additional Medicaid administrative expenses, additional money the state will get if the locality decides to use this program,” Doggett said.

“We also provide some disincentives if we have a state that tries to block the local leadership as happened, unfortunately, during the pandemic on several health measures, then the state would lose money,” Doggett said.

He added that if the city of Houston alone was able to offer coverage to its residents who fall into the coverage, that would account for one-fourth of the total in the gap.

“The idea is ultimately to get to state expansion,” Doggett explained.

Read full story here.

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News Credit

Author: Maggie Glynn

Publisher: KXAN

Date: June 21, 2021

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