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Texas And Federal Medicaid Responses To Hurricane Harvey Less Generous Than Katrina

Since Harvey hit in August, the state has not extended a special disaster benefit to storm victims, loosened financial eligibility guidelines or created a funding pool to help health care providers, according to the Dallas Morning News. In other Medicaid news, officials in both Texas and Virginia warn about the consequences of running out of federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announces a plan to offer higher reimbursements to mental health professionals.

Dallas Morning News: Why Did Texas Medicaid Officials Request More Aid For Katrina Victims Than For Harvey?
State and federal Medicaid officials haven’t provided the same generous health care benefits to individuals and communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey as they did more than a decade ago to victims of another lethal and crippling storm, Katrina. Some health care experts and providers confirmed Tuesday that they are beginning to ask why. Since Harvey struck the state’s Gulf Coast in late August, the state-federal Medicaid program for the poor hasn’t extended a special disaster benefit to storm victims, loosened financial eligibility guidelines or created a funding pool to help health care providers in affected areas reduce losses from treating uninsured people. (Garrett, 10/24)

KUT News: Texas Could Run Out Of CHIP Money Sooner Than Expected Because Of Hurricane Harvey
Advocates say Texas will run out of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program sooner than they thought. The program, which Congress failed to reauthorize last month, covers nearly 400,000 children from working-class families in the state. (Lopez, 10/24)

Roanoke (Va.) Times: Governor Calls For Medicaid Expansion To Cover Children’s Health Insurance
Virginia lawmakers will need to rethink their resistance to Medicaid expansion as federal funds that pay for children’s health care disappear, the governor said on Tuesday. “We lose $6.6 million a day, $2.2 billion per year. This is the craziest thing I have ever seen. This is our money, we should bring it back,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe following an appearance in Roanoke to mark the expansion of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. (Rife, 10/24)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker Announces Surprise Funding Bump For Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment
Gov. Scott Walker announced steps Tuesday to pay mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors more money to work with low-income Wisconsinites. Advocates hope the higher payment rates, which go into effect next year, will allow providers to offer more therapy appointments, psychiatric evaluations and substance abuse treatment for children and adults without private insurance. (Linnane and Kyle, 10/24)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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