A Third of Special Session Bills Relate to Health Care

With health care front and center in Gov. Rick Perry's special session call, lawmakers have already filed several key bills addressing everything from state efforts to seize control of Medicaid and Medicare to abortion. 

Among the key health measures that didn't pass in the regular session, and have been given new life in the special:  

— Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Flower Mound Sen. Jane Nelson's plan to allow health care collaboratives between physician groups and hospitals, in an effort to find savings and try out pay-for-performance models in Texas. 

— A Medicaid cost savings bill essential to balancing the budget, which would, among other things, expand Medicaid managed care into South Texas. 

— Rep. Lois Kolkhorst's effort to establish a Health Care Compact, in which Texas would seek control of Medicaid and Medicare from the federal government, and her bill that would ask Washington for a waiver and a block grant to run Medicaid.  

Almost all of the health care bills filed thus far involve these three issues, and they seem to align with Perry's special session call: "Legislation relating to health care cost containment, access to services through managed care, and the creation of economic and structural incentives to improve the quality of Medicaid services."

But that hasn't stopped at least one lawmaker from filing controversial abortion-related legislation likely to stir up Democrats.

Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has filed a bill that would put new limits on doctors who prescribe abortion-inducing drugs, including requirements that they examine women before and after, document the gestational age of the fetus and give the patient the drug label and emergency contacts for potential complications.   

 

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