Texas legislation

Take Three: COVID Relief Funds, Local Vaccine Mandates on Third Special Session Agenda - 09/17/2021

As anticipated, the Texas Legislature will return for a third 2021 special session – and fourth session overall this year – with federal COVID-19 relief funds on the agenda and the House of Medicine hoping to influence how lawmakers will allocate those funds.


TMA: Boost Tech With COVID-19 Relief Funds - 09/13/2021

With connectivity on its mind, the House of Medicine logged in to a dialogue with state leaders and inputted its first official suggestions about how to distribute $16 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds.


Restrictions on School Masking Unlikely to Pass Legislature - 09/02/2021

As the final days of the Texas Legislature’s second special session dwindle, it appears certain that lawmakers will not advance any bills on masking requirements in schools. That’s good news for the Texas Medical Association, which has helped scuttle attempts to undercut local decisionmaking authority on masking.


TMA in the Thick of Legislature’s Masking Authority Talks - 09/01/2021

An eventful Monday evening in the Texas Legislature featured the near-certain death of a bill that would prohibit public schools from requiring masks – thanks to fervent Texas Medical Association advocacy.


GME Momentum: Preserving Texas' Steady Progress in Building Residency Positions - 08/27/2021

TMA fights state budget cuts to preserve Texas’ steady progress in building residency positions.


TMA Stands Ready for Second Special Session - 08/09/2021

As Gov. Greg Abbott promised last month, Democratic lawmakers’ decision to leave the state during this year’s special session of the Texas Legislature prompted the governor last week to call a second special session.


Physician-Led Results: Grassroots Advocacy Paid Off in Tangible Wins at the Capitol - 08/03/2021

Texas physicians made the most of an extraordinary, scaled-back session of the Texas Legislature in 2021. They helped pass laws to curb prior authorization hassles; keep physicians from incurring new practice costs; install liability protections for future pandemics like COVID-19; extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers; and keep graduate medical education (GME) fully funded. And so much more.


Leading in the Legislature: Physician Lawmakers Help Advance Medicine's Agenda - 08/02/2021

Physician lawmakers play a key role in advancing medicine's legislative agenda.


COVID-19 Relief Funds Could Bring Medicaid Pay Bump in Fall Special Session - 07/09/2021

A widely anticipated special session of the Texas Legislature is under way. But the Texas Medical Association has much of its energy focused on the next special session this fall, when the legislature is likely to tackle distribution of around $16 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds.


Expanded Broadband Bill Passes Senate, Heads to the Governor - 07/08/2021

Welcome to the first day of the final month of the Texas Legislature’s 2021 session. Expect the flurry of hearings and legislative movement to swirl even faster this week as the House of Medicine and its like-minded lawmakers furiously push for progress ahead of the May 31 finish line.


Physician-Led Results: Steps Forward in Telemedicine - 07/08/2021

Coming into the 2021 session, the Texas Medical Association had hope that telemedicine’s success in allowing for remote care during the COVID-19 pandemic would prompt lawmakers to permanently relax many state policies restricting its use.


Physician-Led Results: Liability Protections for the Next Pandemic - 07/08/2021

Physicians inherently want to help people – that’s why they’re physicians. But as COVID-19 has shown, there may be no harder situation in which to help Texans than during the rigors and pressures of a pandemic.


TMA Shooting for Reinstatement of 1115 Waiver Extension - 07/08/2021

Facing a major setback for uncompensated care, the Texas Medical Association is taking the opportunity to think bigger and better.


Physician-Led Results: Medicine’s Advocacy Helps Kill Scope and Other Ill-Advised Bills - 07/01/2021

Once again, expertise prevailed in this year’s legislative session. So did good sense.


Governor Approves Bill to Reduce Prior Authorization Hassles - 06/30/2021

Care for countless Texas patients will happen more quickly by reducing health insurers’ bureaucratic delays, thanks to a bill Gov. Greg Abbott allowed to become law this weekend. The Texas Medical Association (TMA) prioritized curbing health insurers’ onerous prior authorization practices this legislative session, resulting in passage of House Bill 3459 by Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), and Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), with considerable support by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).


Physician-Led Results: Vaping Permit Requirement Established, COVID-19 Response Mixed - 06/30/2021

Texas public health won a long-awaited victory by putting vaping products on the same regulatory footing as products made with tobacco.


Physician-Led Results: Lawmakers Invest in Texas’ Future Physicians - 06/29/2021

Going into the 2021 legislative session, Texas medical educators were understandably nervous. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic had thrown future growth of graduate medical education into doubt.


Health Coverage Extensions Will Help Mothers, Children - 06/28/2021

Women can access critical health care longer after delivering their babies, and more children will continue uninterrupted medical care, thanks to two new bills that will become Texas law. Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed Texas House Bill 133 and House Bill 2658, ensuring longer Medicaid health care coverage for these populations who are susceptible to health complications – even death – if that care is interrupted.


Physician-Led Results: TMA Advocacy Pays Off in Tangible Legislative Wins - 06/23/2021

Texas physicians made the most of a scaled-back session of the Texas Legislature in 2021. With fewer floor meetings, no in-person First Tuesdays at the Capitol lobbying events, and limited air time for agenda items, the House of Medicine needed its advocates to work harder than ever. Physicians needed initiative and drive to help get crucial legislation across the finish line – and help stop bad bills from becoming bad law. They did all that with gusto.


Physician-Led Results: Medicine Earns Its Gold Star on Insurance Bills - 06/22/2021

When it came to addressing prior authorization burdens this legislative session, the Texas Medical Association asked physicians directly what they needed, and those responses helped medicine attack the problem with a laser-like focus.


Medicaid Waiver Extension Request Should Include Physicians, Uninsured Coverage, TMA Testifies to HHSC - 06/15/2021

Facing the loss of crucial uncompensated care funding, the Texas Medical Association is helping the state craft a request to the Biden administration to reinstate an extension on Texas’ Medicaid 1115 Transformation Waiver. And that request should include physicians in the safety net plan, Gary Floyd, MD, TMA’s president-elect for 2022-23, testified at a recent hearing.  


Bad Scope Bills Defeated - 06/11/2021

Among other ill-advised proposals put forth during this year’s session, the House of Medicine stopped every troublesome attempt by nonmedical professionals to creep into the practice of medicine during this session.


Wins on GME, Mental Health Funding Highlight Medicine’s Budget Year - 06/10/2021

When it comes to health care, as with so many aspects of life, money talks. And the Texas Legislature this year showed medicine’s advocates that it’s allocating the state’s money with Texas’ health needs in mind.


First Across the Finish Line: Medical Billing Tax Eliminated - 06/07/2021

More than a year of work and collaboration came to fruition with House Bill 1445 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress), which classifies outsourced medical billing as being outside the realm of insurance services. When Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill on April 30, it nullified a medical billing tax scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.


Senate Elects Physician Legislator in High-Ranking Position for Interim Session - 06/01/2021

In its final meeting of 2021, the Texas Senate elevated Sen. Donna Campbell, MD (R-New Braunfels), to president pro tempore for the upcoming interim session, making the emergency physician third in line for governor.