AUSTIN, Texas – With exploding health care costs driving growth in the state’s economy, the Texas Public Policy Foundation announced today that former state representative Arlene Wohlgemuth would assist the organization’s policy work in Medicaid reform.

“As a legislator, I admired the Foundation’s work in promoting sensible reforms driven by a desire to improve Texas for all Texans,” said Wohlgemuth, who will start on a part-time basis on January 1. “I’m pleased to join the Foundation’s efforts to bring dignity and fiscal accountability to the Medicaid system.”

In her role, Wohlgemuth will provide guidance for policy changes needed from both the legislature and federal congress, according to the Foundation’s president, Brooke Rollins.

“While there are things Texas legislators can do to reform Medicaid, they are hamstrung by rules and regulations produced in Washington,” said Rollins. “So while our emphasis remains on Texas, in this case the battle also has to be fought in Congress.”

Wohlgemuth will be working directly with Mary Katherine Stout of the Foundation’s Center for Health Care Policy. Together, they will develop research initiatives exploring ways to bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to Medicaid.

First elected to the Texas House in 1994, Wohlgemuth gained distinction for her work in driving health care policy reforms. In the 78th Session, it was Wohlgemuth’s HB2292 that lead to a comprehensive restructuring of the state’s health and human services to programs. These reforms have provided great cost savings while improving services received by Texans seeking aid.

Wohlgemuth said controlling Medicaid costs are important for recipients as well as taxpayers.

“The system is headed for bankruptcy in the very near future. If we do not make important reforms soon, taxpayers will not be able to bear the price, and recipients of aid won’t be able to get needed care when they fall on hard times.”