Democrats say new budget would close nursing homes

By CHRIS TOMLINSON Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Democratic lawmakers denounced the latest version of the state budget, saying it would close 50 percent of the state's nursing homes. Those closures would leave 43,700 without a facility to live in.

Lawmakers have been struggling to find a solution to the $27 billion revenue shortfall facing the state. Republicans have pledged to cut spending and not raise revenues.

In a proposal approved this week, the state would cut Medicaid by 33 percent. The elderly and disabled take up 59 percent of Medicaid spending in Texas.

The Texas Health Care Associations says those cuts would not only close nursing homes, but also leave 60,000 nursing home workers unemployed.

Democrats make up less than a third of the Texas House. They urged Texans to call their legislators to protest the cuts.