Health Care

SB 23

Bill Authors Last Name: 
Nelson
Bill Authors City: 
Flower Mound
Party Affiliation: 
R
Last Action: 
Reported from Committee
Caption: 

Relating to efficiencies and cost-savings in the health and human services and other related regulatory agencies, including the state medical assistance and child health plan programs.

HB 670

Bill Authors Last Name: 
Crownover
Bill Authors City: 
Lake Dallas
Party Affiliation: 
R
Last Action: 
Reported from Committee
Caption: 

Relating to the elimination of smoking in certain workplaces and public places.

SB 420

Bill Authors Last Name: 
Deuell
Bill Authors City: 
Greenville
Party Affiliation: 
R
Last Action: 
Reported from Committee (2nd Chamber)
Caption: 

Relating to determining eligibility for indigent health care.

The Health of the Budget

There’s a media frenzy at the Capitol building surrounding one all-important document—The Budget.

This week, the Senate Finance Committee is taking an unprecedented early look at how the cuts will affect Article II, the Health and Human Services section of the state’s budget. Watch live Senate Committee hearings here.

Below is a list of articles from various sources around the state on the cuts and the impact they could have to Texas’ children, indigent, and elderly.

Austin American-Statesman: Medicaid Diagnosis: We’re Billions Short” 

Austin American-Statesman: Mental Health Faces Big Cuts  

Dallas Morning News: Medicaid, Schools on Chopping Block 

San Antonio Express-News: Schools, Healthcare Face Cuts 

Texas Tribune: HHS Commissioner on Health Cuts 

Texas Tribune: Provider Pay Rates in Jeopardy? 

Faith Communities and Health Care Reform

On Wednesday, hundreds of national, state and local faith organizations showed their support for health care reform in a letter to Congress

The letter begins with the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his sermon at Riverside Church in New York City, April 4, 1967:

"We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society."

Believing that health care reform takes historic steps into a health care future that prioritizes the needs of the American people, members of the Faithful Reform in Health Care coalition and Washington Interreligious Staff Community Health Care Working Group support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and call upon you to:

  • move forward with its on-going implementation;
  • work to improve the provisions that need further consideration;
  • engage in genuine dialogue and civil discourse with your colleagues about the concerns around which there is partisan disagreement. 

Faith communities have supported health care reform for decades, and they offered vocal support and occasional constructive criticism over the last year. While they individually promote a variety of different policy priorities, they are unified in their belief that repealing, dismantling, or de-funding health care reform will undermine the moral vision for our health care future and harm those who will benefit from the new law.The letter outlines the numerous ways in which health care reform leads to a more inclusive, affordable, accessible, and accountable health care future, as identified in "A Faith-Inspired Vision of Health Care" that was included with the letter.

Read the full letter

The release of this letter coincides with the launch of three activities within the faith community in recent days:

Sign-on petition "What I Like about Health Care Reform"

Call-in days to Members of Congress 

 Email campaign

 

HB 32

Bill Authors Last Name: 
Creighton
Bill Authors City: 
Conroe
Party Affiliation: 
R
Last Action: 
Reported from Committee
Caption: 

Relating to the prohibition of required health insurance coverage.

HCR 27

Bill Authors Last Name: 
Christian
Bill Authors City: 
Center
Party Affiliation: 
R
Last Action: 
Reported from Committee
Caption: 

Expressing opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Now Playing at Your Local Hospital...

The Affordable Care Act features changes that are being implemented slowly across several years. A number of important health provisions go into effect during 2011. An article from the Kaiser Family Foundation lays out 9 new health provisions to expect in the new year, with detailed background information for each. 

Kaiser Health News: Nine Ways the New Health Law May Affect You in 2011.

Affordable Care Act: January 2011 Provisions

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a long, complicated document that will cause real changes in the way that you and your family access and pay for health insurance. Texas Impact is committed to helping you understand the bill and making sure that you get the benefits available to you. Below is a list of PPACA provisions that go into effect in January, 2011.

Prescription Drug Discounts

Starting January 1, 2011, Seniors under Medicare Part D coverage will receive a 50 percent discount when purchasing Medicare covered brand-name prescription drugs. In 2020, the Medicare coverage gap will be closed, but until then, savings for seniors will slowly be phased in.

The Medicare office has a new document explaining new provisions in detail.

Free Preventive Care for Seniors

The Affordable Care Act already requires all new health plans to cover preventive services, but effective January 1, 2011, seniors already on Medicare will also be eligible to receive free preventive services, such as annual check-ups.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

This new center was established in November 2010, in order to explore methods of healthcare delivery and payment that would improve quality of patient care to Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. By January 1, 2011, the US Department of Health and Human Services will issue a National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan that includes Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. The HHS sought public input and comment in developing this strategic plan, and has held several listening sessions and calls on the topic.

Community Care Transitions Program

Beginning January 1, 2011, a 5-year grant will fund this Community Care Transitions Program, which aims to cut down on unnecessary hospital readmissions for senior Medicare recipients who are at high risk due to illness.

Medical Loss Ratio

Effective January 1, 2011, Insurance companies will be required to show that their expenditure for administrative costs and overhead reflects a certain ratio expended for patient care and quality care. According to Healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act will require that at least 85% of all premium dollars collected by insurance companies for large employer plans are spent on health care services and health care quality improvement, and 80% of premium dollars in small employer and individual plans must be directed to the same purpose. Insurance companies that do not reach this medical loss ratio standard will be required to provide rebates to their customers.

Strengthening Medicare Advantage and ending Overpayment To Insurance Companies

Beginning January 1, 2011, provisions of the Affordable Care Act will gradually eliminate the difference between Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. This will end Medicare Advantage overpayment to insurance companies, for which current rates average $1,000 more per person than Traditional Medicare. The Affordable Care Act provides bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality health care.

The Medicare office has developed a new document explaining the provision in detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HHSC Releases Report on Impact on Texas if Medicaid is Eliminated

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) today released the report Impact on Texas if Medicaid is Eliminated, in accordance with House Bill 497, 81st Legislature, Regular Session, 2009. H.B. 497 instructed HHSC to conduct a joint study with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to determine the impact on the Texas health care system if the state Medicaid program is abolished or if the amount of available funding for the program is severely reduced.

 

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

 

The report concludes that

  • Texas would lose $15 billion (SFY 2009) in federal matching funds for client services and hospitals.
  • At the same time, Texas residents and businesses would continue to pay federal taxes in support of other states' Medicaid spending.
  • Up to 2.6 million Texans could become uninsured.
  • Hospitals still would be required by federal law to treat medical emergencies of uninsured former Medicaid and CHIP clients, potentially adding billions to uncompensated care costs each year.
  • The Legislature could preserve benefits for some current Medicaid and CHIP clients using the state share of funding while shielding the state budget from significant losses, but it will be difficult to accomplish these two goals without shifting costs to county governments and public hospitals.

 

More information is available from the HHSC External Relations Division at 512-487-3300, or via e-mail at HHSCExternalRelations@hhsc.state.tx.us.

 

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