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Monday, April 27, 2015

State Budget Writing Moves to Negotiation Please

The work of crafting the 2016-17 state budget is now at a critical juncture. The Texas Senate and House of Representatives have each drafted and passed a spending plan of about $210 billion. House Speaker Joe Straus appointed a five-member team led by Appropriations Committee Chair John Otto (R-Dayton) to work out the budget details in a conference committee. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named five senators to the committee, led by Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound). We’re pleased the 10 negotiators include some longstanding friends of medicine and patients. TMA sees some big positives in each version that we will work to maintain in the final budget. The House budget, for example, includes funds to restore Medicaid payments to Medicare levels for certain primary care physicians and services, and the Senate plan has $57 million to grow and expand graduate medical education programs. We’ve posted the list of the budget negotiators from each chamber, along with a contact phone number, and TMA’s budget priorities.

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