By Jason Millman - 12/03/10 09:49 PM EST
The Texas health department chief shot down the Republican governor’s suggestion that it may cancel its Medicaid coverage, saying the state is “very dependent” on federal assistance for covering poor people, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Rick Perry raised the possibility that Texas would opt out of Medicaid, which covers more than 3 million in his state, during a CNN interview last month when he claimed the new healthcare reform law would increase his state’s Medicaid obligation by $2.7 billion per year over the next decade.
However, Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs said that talk of Texas opting out of the federal program has been blown out of proportion.
“What's getting lost is the need to reinvent Medicaid, not getting out of Medicaid," he told the AP.
A new state health department report this week reported that Medicaid accounts for 15 percent of personal healthcare spending in Texas, pays for more than half of all births and helps two-thirds of nursing home residents, the AP said.