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Texas Medicaid recipients call for full funding

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

The elderly and disabled are particularly concerned about cuts to programs that allow them to live at home instead of in institutions. The state-portion of Medicaid is expected to rise by at least $7 billion in the next two-year budget cycle, representing a challenge to Republican leaders who have pledged to limit growth in overall state spending to about $7 billion.

"I was in a state (institution) and my life was hell," Albert Metz said using a computer to speak for him. "Now I have my own apartment, and Medicaid matters because it pays for my medicine and the repairs to my wheelchairs and my communication device and it also pays for my attendant care."

The Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice, in a separate statement Tuesday, called on lawmakers to reinstate funding cut last year for home care and hospice.

"Home care and hospice services are the most cost-effective methods of care for Medicare and Medicaid," said Rachel Hammon, the association's executive director. "The use of these services contributes to billions of dollars in taxpayer savings by preventing or reducing the use of more expensive emergency room, hospital and nursing home services."

Others calling for robust funding of Medicaid talked about how the program helped care for a disabled child and employed more than 500,000 health care providers in Texas.