2005 Legislative Compendium

Overview 

TMA's theme for the 2005 Texas Legislature was "In Defense of Medicine." This session was unlike most sessions before it. Instead of trying to get legislation passed, TMA was defending your practice against hundreds of potential landmines: taxation of health care services, broadening of allied health practitioners' scope of practice, restrictions on physician ownership in health care facilities, more funding cuts for the state's health care safety net, the imploding workers' compensation system, the weakening public health infrastructure, and rollbacks of investments in medical education. Those are just a few of the issues that found TMA playing defense for Texas medicine. With the notable exception of the Medicaid Integrated Care Management legislation and Texas State Board of Medical Examiners (TSBME) sunset bill, TMA's primary objective for 2005 was to kill bills, not pass them.

This compendium describes all the major subject issues that TMA tracked and the accomplishments - or close calls - of each. TMA partnered with specialty and county medical societies to defeat hundreds of dangerous bills and amendments. Additionally, the association worked to amend bills that had potential but contained provisions harmful to patient care or physician practice viability. Some bills came closer to passing than medicine preferred, those are the "close calls" described below by subject area. "Near misses" are bills TMA supported but did not cross the finish line.

By session's end, medicine largely ended up unscathed - a remarkable accomplishment given the number of hazards traversed from January until May 30. However, many of the issues are likely to reemerge over the next 18 months, either as legislative studies during the interim or as refiled legislation for the 2007 Texas Legislature.

The TMA Board of Trustees, Council on Legislation, and policy components already are conducting a post-session analysis to better understand the issues medicine will face in 2007. The action plan will include:

  • Active engagement of grassroots physicians in local meetings and educational forums with legislators;
  • Participation in the election cycle through TEXPAC, TMA's political action committee;
  • Assessment of nascent physician issues through member surveys; and
  • Participation in legislative interim studies, and formation of physician work groups to develop legislative recommendations on key issues facing patients and physicians. 

Table of Contents 

Overview  
Tax Reform  
Scope of Practice  
Physician Ownership  
Inadequate Health Plan Networks (Balanced Billing)
Managed Care/Insurance Reform  
Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Sunset and Physician Licensure  
Agency Sunset Review  
Corporate Practice of Medicine  
Health Care Funding  
Medicaid and CHIP  
Indigent Care and the Uninsured  
Workers' Compensation  
Professional Liability Reform  
Medical Education/Workforce  
Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition/Fitness  
Public Health  
Border Health  
Rural Health  
Mental Health  
Trauma/EMS  
Prescription Drugs  
Medical Science  
Long-Term Care  
Abortion  
Transplantation/Organ Donation  

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