A trio of TMA leaders joined chief lobbyist Darren Whitehurst and I in a fruitful discussion of key health care issues with new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The group included Dr. Garcia; TMA Trustee Diana Fite, MD; and Council on Legislation Chair Dawn Buckingham, MD. Lieutenant Governor Patrick has a good working relationship with a number of physicians in Houston and throughout the state. Our talks covered:
- The work of Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) and that committee to craft an appropriate state budget for 2016-17. We talked about the importance of Medicaid and how the state can redefine the program and determine appropriate coverage; about the need to create additional GME slots to address shortages and keep pace with medical school growth; and about the Finance Committee’s focus on tax relief and TMA’s openness to proposals relating to both personal and business tax reductions.
- Lieutenant Governor Patrick’s appointment of Dr. Schwertner to chair the Health and Human Services Committee and our mutual confidence in his ability to craft good state health policy.
- The need to reduce red tape and bureaucracy for physicians and other health providers.
- The importance of protecting our medical liability reforms, which reopened high-risk specialties and brought new physicians to the state.