House Public Health Panel Discussion on Public Health Spending

TMA Testimony by David Teuscher, MD

House Public Health Committee
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013
Stakeholder Testimony
David Teuscher, MD

Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the committee. My name is Dr. David Teuscher. I am an orthopedic surgeon who practices in Beaumont and am a member of the Texas Medical Association Board of Trustees. I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak with you today on behalf of TMA and our 47,000 physician and medical student members.

Ladies and gentlemen, health care is changing rapidly today. Spurred by rising costs, rising rates of chronic disease, and a vast number of people who lack regular access to good medical care, everyone has become a health care reformer these days. The federal government in particular – but also insurance companies, state agencies, employers, and hospital chain owners – have all decided they should tell physicians how to care for our patients.

Unfortunately, very few of those people have gone to medical school. Very few of them have enjoyed the incredible honor and responsibility that comes when very sick or badly injured human beings literally place their life in your hands. Very few of them understand the incredible and unique complexity that each of those human beings brings to the exam room or the emergency department or the operating theater.

As physicians, we feel it is our responsibility not only to care for those patients but also to bring you wise policy choices that will help – rather than hinder – our ability to provide that care.


This is our Healthy Vision for a healthy Texas … and for healthy Texans.

It begins with our plan to ensure we have enough physicians of the right specialty in the right places in Texas to care for our growing population. I’ll speak more on that later in the day.

Healthy Vision calls on government and hospitals and insurance companies to respect the patient-physician relationship, to respect the trust our patients place in us to guide them to the best decisions regarding their own, individual health care.

Healthy Vision asks for your support for innovative new models of care – for team-based care, for medical homes, for mental health care – that will allow patients and their physicians to work together for the best outcomes.

Healthy Vision calls for the repeal of onerous federal and state regulations that eat up our time and add to our costs but do little to improve the quality of patient care.

Healthy Vision says we need to invest in prevention – immunizations, physical education, food and drug safety – that will help us to reverse the rising costs of preventable disease and chronic illness.

Healthy Vision demands that we protect our tremendously successful 2003 medical liability reforms, which have attracted enough good physicians to Texas over the past decade to keep up with our booming population growth.

Healthy Vision calls for government to pay physicians appropriately for the services we provide to the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities, and people hurt on the job.

And Healthy Vision says we must hold insurance companies accountable for offering real health care benefits in exchange for the premiums we all pay.

Ladies and gentlemen, we want our Healthy Vision to be our shared vision for the future of Texas.

Many of these issues involve the jurisdiction of this committee directly and will be tied to bills we will ask you to support or defeat during the course of this session. Others will travel through other committees on their way to the House floor.

Either way I ask you to consider one question … I ask you to discuss this question with me or with other TMA leaders or with your physicians back home. That question is this: Will passage of this bill … will approval of this budget … will this vote I am about to cast … make it harder or easier for Texas physicians to care for their patients.

And please … let your answer guide your decision.

Thank you. I’ll be glad to answer any questions.

83rd Texas Legislature Letters and Testimonies main page