Texas Tribune

News Intern (September to December 2011)

Lower Medicaid Dispensing Fees May Pressure Pharmacies

In Rio Grande City, Rene Martinez’s Starr Pharmacy has one line for Medicaid patients and another for non-Medicaid patients. On some days, most of his clients can be found waiting on the Medicaid line, a testament to the importance of that federal-state health insurance program in this poor city along the Texas-Mexico border — and to Mr. Martinez’s bottom line. His store is one of a number of independent pharmacies in Texas that may have to lay off workers and cut services like free delivery to homebound patients because of looming lower dispensing fees.

More Bad Drought News: End Not in Sight

JUNCTION — More anthills than blades of grass are visible in some of the cracked earth around Junction. The year-long drought has plagued the town — as it has the rest of the state — and for a painful, six-week stretch, Junction banned all outdoor watering. Some 4.5 inches of rain earlier this month increased the flow of the Llano River, two forks of which meet at the town. But the water is still pretty low — and four panelists at the Texas Water Symposium last week brought some unwelcome news