Apr 1, 2011

Senate Panel Restores Physicians' Medicaid Cuts

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rep. Jim Pitts
The Texas House passed House Bill 275 ― the Rainy Day Fund bill — yesterday, 142-2. The measure by Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) will allow the state to draw down $3.1 billion of the Rainy Day Fund to cover the remainder of the current budget gap. Today the hard work begins for House members as they tackle HB 1 ― their bare-bones state budget for 2012-13. It’s likely that debate over the $164.5 billion budget bill and its 371 proposed amendments could go into the weekend. Stay tuned.

In the upper chamber, the Senate Finance Committee approved funding recommendations by the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Medicaid. Recommendations approved include these:
  • Eliminate the 10-percent additional cut to physician Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program payments (physician payments were cut 1 percent Sept.1, 2010, and Feb. 1, 2011);
  • Add $4.3 billion in general revenue across all five parts of the budget;
  • Add $2.5 billion to fund Medicaid caseload growth;
  • Restore funds to maintain current level of community-based mental health services for children and adults;
  • Restore funds to maintain current level of service for substance abuse and prevention; and
  • Restore funds to fund tobacco cessation and prevention services.
The decision to remove the 5-percent rate cut for nursing homes and hospitals was left pending until the Subcommittee on Fiscal Matters can find more money. Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), chief budget writer for the Senate, expects its budget bill to be finalized in two weeks.

The physician of the day at the capitol is Lindsay K. Botsford, MD, of Houston. Dr. Botsford specializes in family medicine. She graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Botsford is a member of TMA and the Harris County Medical Society.

It’s not too late to join your colleagues in Austin. Sign up now for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 5. Your patients and your profession need you to advocate on their behalf. Register today.

Tell us your story. TMA wants to capture your story on video. Tell us why you decided to become a physician. What day did you leave your office or hospital and say to yourself, “Now, that’s why I became a physician”? Tell us what your profession means to you. Check out “physician moments” from some of your colleagues.

Texas House OKs rainy-day fund withdrawal for 2011 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Insurers Drop Child-Only Plans, Blame Health Reform
(Texas Tribune)
CMS releases proposed ACO rule
(American Medical News)
Healthcare key to keep Texas at the top
(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

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