I’ve been meeting lately with key state senators and representatives ― committee chairs and members ― who have influence over our 2013 legislative agenda. Here, in brief, is my spiel:
- Expand Coverage, Reform Medicaid: We need to be creative in how we address the huge number of uninsured in Texas. We are calling on Austin and Washington to work together to devise a benefits plan that fits the needs of childless adults, with copays and deductibles that put some responsibility on the patient. This is NOT expansion of traditional Medicaid. To bring Texas physicians back to Medicaid, we also need to improve payment rates, cut the stifling administrative bureaucracy, and rein in the overzealous fraud investigators.
- Restore the Cuts: The 2011 legislature did some serious damage to our health care delivery and public health systems. We have to reverse the devastating cuts to payments for dual-eligibles, and funding for graduate medical education and the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. We have to invest in tobacco-cessation and obesity-reduction programs. These will pay tremendous benefits in the long-run.
- Delegation and Team Care: Supported by physicians as well as APRNs and PAs, this plan firmly establishes a physician-led medical team and allows all involved to practice at their level of education and training. It places more authority and responsibility on the physician to supervise. The bill focuses on team-building, appropriate quality assurance, improved access, and efficiency.
- Protect Tort Reforms: With strong support from Gov. Rick Perry, we will ― of course ― hold firm in defense of our 2003 health care liability reforms.
- Cut Red Tape and Hassles: We’ve joined with other professions and a group of bill authors to reduce the confusing, bureaucratic red tape that so frequently frustrates your practices and takes away your time from patients. We need to eliminate multiple paper forms and replace the really necessary ones with easy-to-use standard and electronic forms that work.
- Stop Theft of Physicians’ Services: We’re once again working to identify and prevent PPOs from stealing the contract discounts physicians have agreed to with other insurers. It’s just not right.