2001 Legislative Compendium: Overview

Overview

Although the 77th Texas Legislature lacked an overall health care theme, such as the Patient Bill of Rights, organized medicine was no less busy this session when compared to previous years. The Texas Medical Association, working hand-in-hand with county medical and state specialty societies, promoted a wide spectrum of health care reform initiatives, ranging from requiring health insurance "fair pay" for physicians and health care providers to increasing Medicaid funding to promoting exercise for school-age children. Legislative redistricting, which comes around only once every 10 years, cast a long shadow for many legislators. Yet despite the political hand-wringing and paranoia inherent in the redistricting process, health care faired remarkably well. The Texas Legislature increased spending on health and human services by a stunning 17 percent, raised Medicaid reimbursement for providers while simplifying Medicaid eligibility for children, and enacted a host of bills aimed at improving Texas' public health and medical education systems.

For medicine, the 77th legislative session also will be remembered for the remarkable number of bills that were vetoed, most notably the prompt payment legislation, House Bill 1862, which would have removed the extensive loopholes health plans and insurers now routinely exploit in order to delay or deny payment to physicians. Whenever possible, TMA will use the regulatory process to resurrect issues lost through the veto process. In fact, TMA already is meeting with the Texas Department of Insurance to discuss how to revise the current clean claims regulations to prohibit unfair claim payment practices.

Described above are just a handful of the health care issues that were debated during the 77th legislature. Contained within this compendium is a comprehensive review of legislation TMA worked to pass this year, along with a summary of vetoed bills, other legislative "near misses," and the outcome of some bills that TMA opposed.

Except where otherwise indicated, all bills that passed will take effect on Sept. 1, 2001.

Table of Contents

 


Comment on this (Must be logged in to comment)

Add Comment

Text Only 2000 character limit

Looking for more?