New Health Care Reform Committee Formed Under House Interim Charges
By Joey Berlin

Health care reform will be a particular point of emphasis for the Texas House of Representatives in its interim year between legislative sessions, and physician lawmakers will be right in the thick of it.

In announcing the House’s interim charges for this year, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) also announced the formation of a House Select Committee on Health Care Reform. The 11-member committee’s duties will include:

  • Studying the implications of excessive health care costs on the efficacy of the state’s Medicaid program and the private health insurance market, with specific examinations of such aspects as transparency, competition, and affordability of prescription drugs.
  • Evaluating “innovative, fiscally positive options” to ensure Texans can access affordable, high-quality, and comprehensive health care, “with an emphasis on reaching low-income and at-risk populations.”
  • Studying ways to improve outreach to families with children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled. The Texas Medical Association had requested a similar step for interim study, recommending that the interim include evaluating “opportunities to boost access to children’s health care coverage.”
  • Examining the potential impact that delayed care has on costs and patient health outcomes, including consideration of patient delays in obtaining preventive and primary health services.

The 11-member select committee will include two physician-legislators: Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), and Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress). The committee’s chair and vice chair, respectively, will be Rep. Sam Harless (R-Spring) and Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas).

As usual, the complete list of interim charges included plenty of directives for House committees to put health care under the microscope. Committee charges include:

  • Committee on Public Health – Study the impact of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths in Texas, and evaluate existing mitigation strategies regarding opioid abuse; study current telemedicine trends and make recommendations related to required documentation health care professionals must collect for consent to treat via telemedicine; and examine existing resources and available opportunities to strengthen Texas’ workforce for nursing and other health professionals, including rural physicians and nurses.
  • Committee on Insurance – Examine existing business practices in the insurance industry to determine if additional laws or regulations are necessary to lower premiums, promote competition, and protect consumers.
  • Committee on Appropriations – Identify ways to modernize information technology systems in Texas Medicaid, improve interoperability, reduce administrative burdens, and provide cost savings.

Last Updated On

March 16, 2022

Originally Published On

March 16, 2022

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