News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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High Court to Hear Texas Medicaid Case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed March 7 to hear an appeal of a Texas Medicaid case in which plaintiffs claimed the state did not meet the needs of poor children enrolled in the state program there.

The class action was filed in 1993 against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The lawsuit highlighted, among other instances of alleged failings by the state, a patient with cerebral palsy who had not gotten proper physical therapy and a deaf child who was not given a hearing test that plaintiffs said likely would have diagnosed the problem.

Most of the complaints centered on the federal Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program, which covers about 1.5 million Texas children and is supposed to provide them with checkups and health evaluations, according to court documents.

In 1996, the courts approved a settlement, which included mandated improvements to the health-care system for poor children in Texas. But in 1998, a group representing children went back to court, saying the state had violated the 1996 agreement. A judge ordered the state to begin corrective measures, but the state appealed the order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, ruled last July that the federal court did not have the authority to oversee the program. Plaintiffs appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.

—Michelle R. Davis

Bush Seeks to Lift Cap On AmeriCorps Roster

President Bush sent a proposal to Congress last week asking for an additional $64 million for the national-service program AmeriCorps.

Last month, Congress approved $100 million in new spending for AmeriCorps, and capped the program's enrollment at 50,000. The president proposed lifting that enrollment cap, in addition to supplying the extra funds.

Mr Bush's plan would also give the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps, the ability to shift money between its program and its endowment, according to a statement from Leslie Lenkowsky, the chief executive officer of the corporation.

Initiatives such as Teach For America, which supplies teachers to high-need schools, as well as tutoring and mentoring services are provided through AmeriCorps.

—Michelle Galley

Vol. 22, Issue 27, Page 19

Published in Print: March 19, 2003, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
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