State rethinks healthcare cost-cutting efforts

Focus turns to prison care, fraud, but avoids Medicaid expansion
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For the moment, Texas has been grappling with a variety of ways to reduce the costs of delivering healthcare, but has mostly been avoiding the question of expanding the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, reported the San Antonio Express.

In fact, the state's prison system is considering loosening up its rules for medical parole to save millions of dollars a year, according to The Texas Tribune.

"There are a lot of people who are taking up a ton of money from the state budget with very little risk," Brian McGiverin, a staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, told the Tribune. McGiverin estimated the state spends nearly $2 million every year on its 10 most medically expensive inmates.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry has been steadfastly against expanding the Medicaid program under the ACA, and instead has suggested cracking down on fraud, which has cost the state about $6 billion between 2004 and 2011, according to the Express.

Both solutions would likely create a mounting financial burden on hospitals, the Tribune suggested. According to its analysis of expanding the Medicaid program, the move would save $270 billion in real gross product expansion--a byproduct of reducing uncompensated care shouldered by hospitals and other providers, improving health and employing more people.

To learn more:
- read the Texas Tribune articles on medical parole and Medicaid expansion
- here's the San Antonio Express article on Medicaid fraud

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