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Monday, March 18, 2013

BUDGET OUTLOOK BRIGHTENS; KEY TMA BILLS ARE MOVING


Here’s a quick recap of key bills we’re working and tracking in the 2013 Texas Legislature:
  • Budget (Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1): The Senate Finance Committee approved its version of the state’s 2014-15 budget, and the House Appropriations Committee should finish its work in a few weeks. The draft Senate budget includes significant increases for graduate medical education, mental health, and women’s health; we’re still working hard to increase physicians’ Medicaid pay and to reverse the dual-eligible payment cut.
  • Senate Bill 406 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), which would improve access to health care by making it easier for physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, and physician assistants to work together to deliver services, passed the Senate without objection. The legislation is a delegated model and firmly supports a “physician-led medical team.” Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) is carrying the bill’s companion, House Bill 1055.
  • House Bill 620 by Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) would place silent PPOs under state regulation. It has already had a hearing before the House Insurance Committee. The companion is Senate Bill 822 by Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown).
  • House Bill 772 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) had a House Public Health Committee hearing. It would make the state’s immunization registry (ImmTrac) an opt-out registry versus opt-in. 

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