Health

Texas sues Biden admin over decision to pull Medicaid waiver

Texas has sued the Biden administration over its decision to revoke a waiver that extends the state’s Medicaid program.

The federal lawsuit, filed Friday, calls for the waiver surrounding the state’s Medicaid program to be reinstated. It said the original decision by the Biden administration last month was without warning or proper authority.

“The Biden administration cannot simply breach a contract and topple Texas’ Medicaid system without warning,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement Friday. “Not only does this violate agency regulations and threaten to rip a $30 billion hole in Texas’ budget.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a letter to the state last month that the process to approve the waiver was flawed and that it did not include time for public comment. The agency was also concerned with the length of the extension, which runs through 2030 and is typically longer than waivers for other state Medicaid programs.

Texas’ Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program expires Sept. 30, 2022, and administers benefits for Medicaid enrollees via the state’s managed care program.

The Trump administration fast-tracked the original waiver and approved it on Jan. 15.

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The lawsuit charges that the Biden administration’s decision is part of an effort to compel the state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and called the threat unconstitutional.

It calls for the Biden administration’s decision to be set aside as it imposes “unconstitutional conditions on federal funding for Texas’ Medicaid program.”

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, grilled Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about the waiver withdrawal during a recent hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Becerra told lawmakers that the current Medicaid program runs through September 2022, and there is plenty of time to renegotiate a new extension.

He said if there were an extension of an existing waiver, it must comply “with all aspects of the law and the notice and public comment was deficient.”

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