Texas appeals court allows $350M in Medicaid therapy cuts

 AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A Texas appeals court is allowing the state to proceed with cutting $350 million from a Medicaid program that provides therapy for disabled children.

The 3rd Court of Appeals on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit over the cuts that were approved by the Legislature last year. Opponents have said roughly 60,000 kids statewide were potentially in line to lose access to speech and occupational therapists.

Justice Melissa Goodwin wrote that constitutional protections for Medicaid benefits don't mandate that "a Medicaid participant has access to a particular provider." Republican lawmakers ordered the cuts amid frustration of growing Medicaid costs.

The ruling reverses a lower judge who said last fall that the state used "seriously flawed" figures to justify the cuts.

Opponents say they will now ask federal regulators to intervene.

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