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Longview health providers promote Medicaid expansion

Longview health providers promote Medicaid expansion
Texas Tribune

POSTED: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 11:14am

Medical providers in Longview urged a small audience Tuesday to sway state lawmakers who are contemplating Medicaid expansion to insure some 1.5 million Texans under national health care reform.

The 83rd Legislature will either opt in to the Medicaid expansion element of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, or turn down about $27 billion in federal money during the coming two-year budget cycle.

A potential third way being explored in Austin is to convince the federal government to provide the money in block grants, without expanding Medicaid — though it is unclear whether the new law provides that option.

On Tuesday, the heads of Good Shepherd Health Systems, WellnessPointe and Special Health Resources for Texas laid out why Medicaid expansion is important to their complementary missions.

Carl Walters II of WellnessPointe, the region’s only Federally Qualified Health Center, told about 30 people at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church that people without insurance forgo regular doctor visits to costly results.

“Here is a disturbing fact,” he said. “A lot of times, people are being hospitalized for longer periods of time. And the fact is we are putting people in their graves at a much younger age, because people don’t go see doctors for an annual checkup. They don’t go see a doctor when they have hypertension or diabetes until it’s out of control.”

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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