Proposed Medicaid cuts could mean trouble for rural communities

Janet Bilyeu, Nurse Practitioner, Claude Medical Clinic
Janet Bilyeu, Nurse Practitioner, Claude Medical Clinic

Diana Crawford
NewsChannel 10

Claude, Texas - Medicaid is facing cuts as lawmakers in Austin search for ways to solve the money problems of Texas. The proposed 10% reduction in rates paid to doctors could mean trouble for Medicaid patients, especially in rural communities. More cuts could mean less care or no care at all for patients needing more than just the basics.

At a rural clinic in Claude, 30% of the patients depend on Medicaid. Referring them to other doctors for more than primary care becomes a problem because of the much lower pay out rates physicians receive. Janet Bilyeu, a Nurse Practitioner at the Claude Medical Clinic says, "It is already substantially less than what insurance pays. But if they make more Medicaid cuts, that's going to be even more problematic, not only for the physicians. The cuts themselves are going to be a problem for the children of Texas who need Medicaid. They're not going to be able to get it. Then the health care of our children will be taken care of in emergency rooms."

Bilyeu says as it is, some of her patients have to travel to places like Lubbock to be seen by a specialist who accepts Medicaid patients.