The 76 th Texas Legislature proved to be a very successful one for organized medicine. That, hopefully will result in better health and better health care for our patients. Legislation passed giving physicians some protection against antitrust threats when negotiating with managed care plans. Children's health got a tremendous boost with the authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program to provide health insurance to children of low-income working families. Physicians and other providers saw the first Medicaid fee increases in seven years. Some $1.8 billion of the state's tobacco lawsuit settlement funds was earmarked for health care services, research or education. And all of the state's health and human services agencies were reauthorized for another 12 years through the "sunset review" process.
These are just a handful of the health-care issues that were debated during the 76 th Legislature. Below is a comprehensive review of legislation Texas Medical Association worked to pass this year, along with a summary of some legislative "near misses" and the outcome of some bills that TMA opposed. Except where indicated, all bills that passed will take effect on Sept. 1, 1999.
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