Jun 27, 2011

House to Take Up Special Session Health Bill Today

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Monday, June 27, 2011

UPDATE: The House passed SB 7 today 96-48. Shortly afterward, the Senate approved it 22-8, sending the bill to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature.
With only three days left in this special session, lawmakers still need to finalize three budget bills to balance the 2012-13 budget and carry out the spending cuts lawmakers made during the regular session. All three bills are close to completion providing they don’t hit a snag. The Texas House will take up conference committee reports for two of the three budget bills — Senate bills 2 and 7— today. Negotiations are still underway for SB 1, which is in conference committee. SB 1 would create around $3.5 billion in nontax revenue for the next two-year budget.

SB 2 would amend current law to appropriate $37 billion to the Foundation School Program for the 2012-13 budget. Money cannot be allocated to certain parts of government without the passage of this bill. At issue is a provision the House added that would draw money from the Rainy Day Fund for the Foundation School Fund if the balance of the Rainy Day Fund exceeds the amount included in the comptroller’s certification. Check out the conference committee report.

SB 7 is the omnibus health care bill. Among the provisions included in the conference committee report, the bill would:
  • Establish a statewide plan to improve quality and increase efficiency by forming and regulating health care collaboratives;
  • Ensure physicians would have an equal say and vote in a collaborative’s governing board, and due process protections and the ability to participate in more than one collaborative arrangement in their community;
  • Create a new Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Quality-Based Payment Advisory Committee and program that would tie a portion of Medicaid HMO premiums to improved health outcomes and quality, and implement copayments in Medicaid to reduce unnecessary emergency department use;
  • Create more than $460 million for Medicaid by placing a premium tax on Medicaid managed care companies that are expanding to the Rio Grande Valley;
  • Protect patients from vaccine-preventable diseases in health care facilities, such as hospitals, by requiring them to implement vaccination policies to immunize their employees;
  • Establish the Texas Emergency and Trauma Care Education Partnership Program to ensure support of the trauma infrastructure in Texas;
  • Allow Texas to participate in a multistate compact to help fund and administer Medicaid and Medicare; and
  • Deny state funding to public hospital districts that perform abortions except in the case of a medical emergency.
SB 28 by Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) could come up in the Senate today. It would ban smoking in some public places and could save the state more than $30 million in Medicaid costs.

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