A wrench just got thrown into the budget reconciliation negotiations.
Forecasts that more Texans battered by the recession will qualify for free health care under the Medicaid program will require that the program receive nearly $1 billion more in state funds, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced today.
"One cloud has arisen," he said, updating reporters about House-Senate budget talks. Though the Senate inserted $750 million more of state money into the two year, $182 billion budget for Medicaid enrollment and cost growth, Dewhurst said the Legislative Budget Board now thinks the figure should be closer to $1.75 billion. The House didn't put any money into its budget for Medicaid enrollment and cost growth.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said he expects lawmakers will have to find more money for Medicaid in both the 2010-2011 budget and an emergency spending bill plugging holes in the current budget.
"There's less money today than we thought there was ... a week ago for new stuff," Ogden said.