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TX budget cuts may close hundreds of nursing homes



Hundreds of nursing homes in Texas may close if lawmakers cut Medicaid as leaders propose, industry officials said Thursday. Since last week, GOP leaders have introduced budgets in both chambers that would reduce by one-third the state's budget for its 56,000 nursing home residents on Medicaid. Two-year spending would sink to $2.8 billion, from $4.2 billion. "We are not crying wolf. Pieces of the sky are falling," said Tim Graves, head of the Texas Health Care Association, a trade group that represents 500 nursing homes, most of them for-profit operations. He said the cuts would jeopardize about half of the state's 1,100 nursing homes: those with 70% or more of patients on the Medicaid rolls. In 2009, the elderly and disabled made up only 30% of the enrollment in Texas Medicaid, a state-federal health program for the poor. But they consumed nearly 60% of the $24.5 billion spent that year.
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