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Democrats Urge Bush to Fix Flaws in Texas' Medicaid Plan

September 02, 2000|From Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Democratic lawmakers urged Republican Gov. George W. Bush on Friday to call a special legislative session to fix problems with the state's Medicaid program highlighted this week by a federal judge's ruling.

"The comptroller says we have a budget surplus. We can deal with this problem. We can deal with it starting today," said Rep. Glen Maxey during a news conference at the state Capitol.

In an Aug. 14 order made public this week, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice said Texas was not adequately providing dental care, regular checkups, transportation to doctors or information about what services are available to children in Medicaid, despite a 1996 agreement in which the state promised to make major improvements.

The ruling became an issue in the presidential campaign, with Democrat Al Gore criticizing Bush's record.

"We are doing everything in our power to take care of the disadvantaged children of the state of Texas," Bush said earlier this week, adding that the court order came from an "activist, liberal judge."

About 1.5 million of Texas' 6 million children are enrolled in Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health care for the needy.

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