TMA is urging Texas lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to show their support for federal legislation on surprise medical bills that includes commercially reasonable upfront payments and independent arbitration.
With the recent rise in severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping and e-cigarettes, state lawmakers took steps today to curb use of those products, particularly among children and teenagers.
Among a number of health care-related topics, the Texas House of Representatives during the interim “off” year in 2020 will study the state’s behavioral health system, child trafficking prevention, and the effect of technology and “big data” on insurance. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) recently released the chamber’s interim charges.
One year from now, Texas voters will hit the polls. They’ll be voting for president, for Congress, and for seats in the Texas Legislature. At the state and national levels, health coverage, Medicaid access, and prescription drug costs have gotten plenty of attention already, and they’ll get plenty more between now and the closing of the polls on Nov. 3, 2020. Here’s a look at some of the major health care debates taking center stage during the 2020 election cycle, what voters are and will be hearing about, and what TMA policy says on those particular issues.
Texas’ nation-leading uninsured rate will be under the state senate’s microscope in 2020 as part of the interim charges Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has assigned to senate committees.
Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.
A reversal in federal immigration policy limits access to green cards and temporary visas for some immigrants who receive Medicaid and other public benefits. But widespread and unfounded fears about the law have unnecessarily deterred many migrants from the care they need and are eligible for. Now physicians and other advocates are struggling to undo the repercussions.
Read the Public Health story in Texas Medicine.
New Immigration Rule Instills Fear, Deters Care
The bad news keeps coming for Texas’ uninsured rate. Between 2016 and 2018, Texas tied for the second-highest jump in the rate of uninsured children among all 50 states, according to a study released Wednesday by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families in Washington, D.C.
When President Donald Trump released an executive order earlier this month that would, in part, expand the scope of practice of nonphysician practitioners, the Texas Medical Association vowed to keep physicians at the head of the health care team. On Monday, TMA President David Fleeger, MD, took a major step to do that, urging President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to remove that language entirely.
The federal government should take a balanced approach to surprise medical bills that includes commercially reasonable upfront payments and independent arbitration, the Texas Medical Association and many other medical societies are telling key members of Congress.
Unless the federal government increases physicians’ Medicare payments and overhauls Medicare’s hassle-laden Quality Payment Program (QPP), access to health care for millions of American seniors and people with disabilities “is at risk,” the Texas Medical Association told Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma.
The state attorney general has agreed with the Texas Medical Association in an official opinion that keeps certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) from administering anesthesia without physician delegation.
A panel of medicine’s representatives in the Texas Legislature said Saturday that 2019 was a good year for medicine in Austin, but unfinished business remains for the next session in 2021.
The 14th annual Border Health Conference, sponsored by the Texas Medical Association and the Border Health Caucus, convened in Laredo, TX, earlier this week. The conference, packed with thoughtful and detailed information, included nearly 100 medical professionals and subject matter experts discussing health care trends and challenges in all communities along the binational border between Texas and Mexico, and various methods of addressing and solving those challenges.
We thank our speakers, sponsors, and attendees for participating. Speaker presentations can be accessed here.
Don’t forget to follow the Border Health Caucus on social media for year-round updates on activities and opportunities to participate. And look for information early next summer on the 2020 Border Health Conference.
Physicians checked off major accomplishments during the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature, including finally convincing lawmakers that raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 was the right thing for the state's present and future. Medicine also scored improvements on the insurance front and vital funding increases.
TMA scored on a wide range of goals to improve the state’s medical landscape during this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, which concluded in May.
The work of the 86th Texas Legislature passed its final stage at midnight Sunday, the deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature. Among those he signed this weekend was Senate Bill 1742, which requires greater transparency with prior authorizations and mandates that utilization reviews be conducted by a Texas-licensed physician in the same or similar specialty as the physician requesting the service or procedure. It also requires health plan directories to clearly identify which physician specialties are in-network at network facilities.
“Seems like the last two sessions it’s been sort of ‘Groundhog Day.’” The movie reference is how TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst summed up lawmakers’ quest to pass legislation to renew the Texas Medical Board for another 12 years.
Respond to Action Alerts. Some bills will be particularly important to TMA, and we request your assistance in either supporting or opposing those bills. Through our Grassroots Action Center and mobile app, VoterVoice, you’ll be able to respond on the fly, sending a message directly to your legislator.
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The 2019 Texas Legislature is now in session — and TMA is ready to fight for medicine. See our plan to help Texas physicians put the health back into health care.
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Landmark reforms passed in 2003 reversed soaring liability insurance rates and helped recruit desperately needed physicians to Texas, especially obstetrician-gynecologists, neurosurgeons, and emergency physicians.
The Texas Medical Association believes a Texas federal judge’s recent ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional provides a bipartisan pathway to strengthen access to health care and provide coverage for the 4.5 million Texans without health care coverage.
Legislation is just one piece of a healthy Texas. But it’s a big piece, and when TMA told the lawmakers of 2019 how it should fit, those legislators largely shaped it to what physicians and patients need.
Texas Medicine's Legislative Victories
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The Texas Medical Association conducts surveys of Texas physicians to research regulatory, socioeconomic, and political issues to support federal and state legislative efforts.
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