Most Wins in a Decade
Texas patients and their physicians won big at the state Capitol. We had more wins than in recent sessions across all issues affecting patient care, as outlined in TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020. In fact, nearly every TMA bill made it to the finish line, either intact or as an amendment. And every bill TMA wanted stopped was stopped.
It was a triumphant legislative session for medicine. As credited to late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local,” and this year we did local better than ever. The keys to our success are the time and effort TMA members took to educate their legislators about issues affecting patient care. Texas legislators listened and delivered for their constituents. Bills unsuccessful in the past two, three, even five sessions moved this year, like no other.
Thanks to our many friends at the state Capitol, companies no longer can steal physicians’ discounted fees, vaccines now are tax-deductible, and the physician-led medical team model of care is now law.
But our work isn’t finished. Left undone was finding a way to broaden coverage for the 6 million Texans without health care coverage. We will continue to look for innovative solutions that leverage federal dollars to help provide access for these working poor Texans.
We also must ensure legislators friendly to medicine stay in office and all our elected officials clearly understand issues facing patients and their physicians. Together, we can and do make a difference.
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Celebrating TMA's Wins
Sincerely, Stephen L. Brotherton, MDPresident
Six hassle-busting bills passed. One lets patients sign in with a swipe of their driver license. The others will bring uniform prior-authorization forms for medications and medical services, a much more streamlined way of renewing physicians’ state Controlled Substances Registration, and significant simplifications complying with the state’s medical privacy law.
TMA Red Tape Reduction Acts of 2013
It took more than six years, but TMA and our state legislators never gave up. Now a new law regulating silent PPOs penalizes unethical third parties who steal and resell physicians’ discounted rates, for commercial and Medicaid contracts.
Lawmakers also passed a prompt-pay law for Medicaid HMOs; no more low-pay, slow-pay, no-pay.