Posted March 09, 2018 04:27:24A medical cannabis card holder who uses the medical marijuana card to buy medical cannabis from a dispensary is eligible for reimbursement from the state of Texas, but only if the patient is not a patient or is not enrolled in a Texas Health Plan.
However, that won’t happen for a lot of patients in the Houston area.
That’s because there’s no provision in the bill that would allow for patients to use the card to purchase medical cannabis in the state.
According to the Houston Chronicle, there is a provision in SB621 that would provide reimbursement for patients in cases where they are not a resident of the state and the patient’s primary care physician certifies that the patient would not qualify for Medicaid.
“The Texas Legislature should not be forcing Texans to choose between access to medical cannabis and access to their healthcare,” said Jennifer Doss, executive director of the Texas Medical Cannabis Coalition.
There are two ways to get medical cannabis coverage in Houston.
One is through the state’s medical marijuana program, which offers free coverage to people who use the medical card.
Another option is to obtain the card through a health insurance provider, which is not subject to the cap on Medicaid reimbursements for patients that is currently in place.
The Texas Medical Marijuana Coalition, which advocates for medical marijuana, has been lobbying to increase the cap and the amount of medical marijuana patients can receive.
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The medical marijuana legislation passed in March requires Texans to use a state-issued identification card to obtain medical cannabis.
It also allows Texans to receive up to $200 in reimbursement for qualifying medical costs, including chemotherapy, and up to 30 days of state-approved treatment.
In an email to the Texas Tribune, state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Houston, said the cap is important because it is based on the number of eligible patients who use medical cannabis, rather than the number who get reimbursed.
“This is the first time we have been able to increase access to healthcare in Texas,” Howard said.
“It’s been a difficult time for the state.”
In January, a coalition of medical providers, physicians, and advocates representing patients, advocates, and policy experts, called on the state legislature to adopt the cap in SB614, which would allow medical cannabis to be dispensed in Houston as long as the patient has a primary care doctor who certifies the patient qualifies for Medicaid coverage.
The bill passed in the House of Representatives on a 29-16 vote and passed the Senate on a 24-12 vote on March 12.