May 7, 2008
The Honorable Kay Granger
U.S. House of Representatives
440 Cannon HOB.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Granger:
On behalf of the 43,000 physician and medical student members of
the Texas Medical Association, I am writing to express our
continued concern over a faulty method of financing our
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) continues to propagate the
myth that restricting or eliminating physician ownership of health
care facilities will save money. Now there is talk of including
this provision as a method of financing in the Supplemental
Appropriations Bill. The assumptions used by CBO are flawed. These
restrictions not only would leave the budget out of balance but
also would harm Texans' access to quality medical care.
We have appreciated your support in the past for removing these
illogical restrictions on physician ownership of facilities from
the CHAMP bill last year and from the 2008 Mental Health Parity and
Farm Bills. We opposed the restrictions on physician ownership then
- and we were joined by the significant support of nearly ALL
members of the Texas congressional delegation - and we strongly
oppose them now.
We have found absolutely no reputable study that supports CBO's
blind allegiance to these restrictions. The research to date
consistently finds high quality, high patient satisfaction, and
competitive costs in these facilities. For CBO to assert otherwise
flies in the face of logic and evidence. If overutilization and/or
fraud are such significant problems at these facilities, where are
the data to support that contention? We ask CBO to prove up its
assumptions and numbers or permanently remove them as a purported
budget savings. As the saying goes in Texas, it is time for the CBO
to put up or ____ up.
It seems unthinkable in America that the right to own our own
businesses or health care facilities is questioned. The physicians
of the Texas Medical Association strongly support responsible
ownership rights. We believe that responsible physician owners will
see all patients who need the services they provide, provide only
services that are truly warranted, give patients all viable options
for their care, and tell patients they have ownership in the
facility. If CBO has the data to prove otherwise, we will support
correction of inequities of all health care facilities, as long as
all are audited and held to the same standards.
We urge you not to allow this provision to become part of the
Supplemental Appropriations Bill or any other legislation. This is
neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue; rather it is an issue
of immense importance to Texas physicians and our patients. It is
key to the future viability of our health care systems.
We thank you for your continued support.
Josie R. Williams, MD