Three cheers for Texas families figuring out how to circumvent their state lawmakers to obtain Medicaid coverage, even though the state refused to take the expansion under Obamacare. Under the provisions of the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, a federal block grant program, uninsured parents are eligible for Medicaid. And somehow, in remarkable numbers, they've found their way to it.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates that more than 140,000 adults received Medicaid through their TANF eligibility in May—a 21 percent increase over November.Parents of TANF-eligible kids can get Medicaid, and it turns out that many of them who are applying aren't taking the TANF cash assistance, just the opportunity to get covered under Medicaid. Which reflected the tremendous demand the state has. That still leaves about a million people in the Medicaid gap in Texas, the state with the distinction of having the highest uninsured rate in the country.
Stephanie Goodman, spokeswoman for the health agency, said the commission is uncertain what’s driving the increase.
Monthly Medicaid enrollment among TANF-eligible adults jumped by almost 5,000 people in January when a new formula to calculate income under the Affordable Care Act kicked in, and it steadily grew through May. But Goodman said several other modifications to the formula under the ACA should’ve offset the surge.