Houston, TX: (Jul-10-07) A class action lawsuit filed against the state alleged that the state did not provide adequate care for children enrolled in Medicaid. In a settlement agreement, a federal judge announced that the state will improve access to medical care for more than 2 million poor children in Texas, likely ending a 14-year-old lawsuit over children's Medicaid.
Lawmakers cut Medicaid reimbursement rates in 2003, when the state was facing a $10 billion shortfall in its two-year budget. Children's health care advocates have since complained the rates were so low doctors were increasingly choosing not to participate in Medicaid, making health care options difficult to find in many rural parts of the state. As part of the settlement, the judge ordered that more than $700 million will be spent to satisfy the terms of the settlement. Rates would increase 50% to dentists with varying rates for physicians based on the treatment provided. Currently, doctors are reimbursed on average for about half of the actual costs of providing medical care to children on Medicaid, by some estimates. [FORBES: CHILD HEALTH CARE]