Jun 8, 2011

Texas House to Tackle BIG Health Bill Today

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


UNDER THE ROTUNDA
The omnibus health care bill, Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) is before the Texas House today. Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), is sponsoring the bill and will roll out the bill with only a few of his recommended amendments. House members may line up to offer dozens of other amendments, generally, bills that failed at some point in the regular session.

SB 7 is a combination of three bills heard during the regular session ― SBs 7 and 23 regarding Medicaid organization and cost containment, and SB 8, which establishes health care collaboratives in Texas. Taken together this huge bill would:
  • 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;
  • Establish a statewide plan to improve quality and increase efficiency by forming and regulating health care collaboratives;
  • Create a new Medicaid and CHIP 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 by requiring health care workers to be properly immunized; and
  • Establish the Texas Emergency and Trauma Care Education Partnership Program to ensure support of the trauma infrastructure in Texas.
Tomorrow, the Texas House will take up two budget bills and one calling for the state to have more power to manage Texas Medicaid and Medicare:
  • SB 1 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock). It generates additional nontax revenue to cover spending in the budget.
  • SB 2 by Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan). It amends current law to appropriate money to support state government. While most of the state budget has passed and is awaiting action by the comptroller and governor, the appropriation for schools was contingent on the passage of school finance legislation, which failed in the regular session. This bill makes the needed appropriation.
  • HB 13 by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). The bill calls for developing a Section 1115 federal waiver (block grant) to give Texas greater flexibility in the design and operation of the Medicaid program. TMA raised several concerns about the bill, specifically whether Texas could secure enough funding to cover not only annual medical inflation but also caseload growth.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
2011 Legislative Update: TONIGHT at 8 pm (CDT)
Remember tonight at 8 pm (CDT), TMA President C. Bruce Malone, MD, will call you at your home telephone number, and invite you to stay on the line for TMA’s Tele-2011 Legislative Update. For 45 minutes, Dr. Malone and members of TMA’s Council on Legislation and TMA’s lobby team will discuss what happened during the 2011 legislative session that affects you and your patients. They also will discuss what issues are still on the table. You may ask questions after each topic. And, the best part: You will earn 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for your time (providing you stay on the line for the entire program).

You also can listen to a live audio webcast tonight or a recording at a later date. TMA is filming the event and will have a video on the TMA website next week. 

WHAT WE'RE READING
Feds May Block Effort to Force Out Planned Parenthood (Texas Tribune)
No, You Can't Keep Your Health Insurance
(Wall Street Journal)
The man who would remake Medicaid in Texas: Health chief Thomas Suehs has a reform plan, wants state waiver from Obamacare to implement it
(Texas Watchdog)

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