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Monday, May 14, 2012

HOUSE OF DELEGATES FACES TOUGH ISSUES, CONTESTED ELECTIONS


I have a feeling this year’s session of the House of Delegates will be one of the most interesting in recent memory. Saturday features contested elections for speaker and vice speaker of the house, the TMA Board of Trustees, and the Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association. The house agenda is packed with some of the hottest issues in medicine today. Among the 103 resolutions are those that would direct TMA to:
  • Work to repeal the dual-eligible payment cuts;
  • Make smoke-free Texas a top legislative priority for 2013;
  • Work to make sure rules governing the Women's Health Program “do not interfere with physicians’ ethical and legal obligations to provide medically accurate, candid, and unbiased advice to obstetric patients”;
  • Restore funding for state family planning services and the Women’s Health Program;
  • Lobby to generate more residency slots and regain full funding for the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program;
  • Advocate repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (these are among several items the Texas delegation could take to the AMA meeting in Chicago next month);
  • Support allowing physicians to balance bill Medicare and Medicaid patients; and
  • Work with the Department of Public Safety to streamline processing of controlled substance permit applications.

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