Medicaid cuts could damage children's hospitals

As states battle over Medicaid budgets, proposed cuts threaten to hamper care provided by children's hospitals.

Most recently, lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives are currently debating a budget that could reduce Medicaid payments to children's hospital by as much as $275 million, reports the New York Times. A bill in the Senate would cost them about half that amount.

Both bills cut outpatient rates by about 10 percent, while the House bill would cut inpatient rates by a similar percentage as well.

In Texas, the Medicaid program covers about 3 million children. About 60 percent of payments for most children's hospitals comes from Medicaid, with some institutions in South Texas reliant on the program for as much as 80 percent of their payments. Many other states are also highly reliant on Medicaid payments to provide pediatric care.

Bryan Sperry, CEO of the Children's Hospital Association of Texas, said its members can get through the next two years with the Senate plan, but the House version would make it far more challenging.

"These doctors, these hospitals provide services nobody else can," he told the Times. "If the cuts get too deep, you jeopardize the ability to continue to be a safety net."

For more:
- read the New York Times article