Tribpedia: Federal Health Reform And Texas

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law on March 21, 2010, the reaction from Texas leaders of all political persuasions was swift, varied and impassioned — no surprise, given the sweeping scope of the new law.

One thing all sides could agree on: The implications of ...

Health Bills in Legislative Committees, Again

Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan and Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, speaks with Sen. Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound during meeting on June 2nd, 2011
Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan and Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, speaks with Sen. Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound during meeting on June 2nd, 2011

The Senate Finance Committee — for the second time — has passed out measures designed to make Medicaid more efficient and effective, and to open the door for medical professions and institutions to collaborate. But it hasn’t yet tackled the more controversial health care bills filed for this special session, including efforts to take control of Medicare and Medicaid from the federal government. 

Texas Capitol
Texas Capitol

Session's End Creates Graveyard of Dead Legislation

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The system is meant to kill legislation: That’s the old line most often heard around the Capitol. And right about now, as the session's end slams the coffin door on a slew of bills, more than a few lawmakers are taking solace in the fact that their dead bills have plenty of company.

Republican Senators gather on the floor awaiting sine die as no agreement is reached on SB1811 on May 30, 2011.
Republican Senators gather on the floor awaiting sine die as no agreement is reached on SB1811 on May 30, 2011.

House and Senate Adjourn; Special Session Tuesday

Both the House and Senate have adjourned sine die. But without a school finance deal in the Senate, Gov. Rick Perry is expected to call a special session for 8 a.m. Tuesday. "You reap what you sow," said Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, "so we'll see what happens next." 

 

For Some Texas Republicans, Federal Action is Payback

Sen. Dan Patrick says he knows why the federal government has intervened on two key bills facing state lawmakers in the final days of the legislative session: “retribution.” Retribution for GOP leaders’ efforts to stop “intrusive” TSA screenings. Retribution for a flurry of anti-federal health reform and state’s rights bills aimed at pushing back against the Obama administration. But is it that simple?

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst R-Brenham on House floor May 24th, 2011
Rep. Lois Kolkhorst R-Brenham on House floor May 24th, 2011

Kolkhorst Keeps Heath Care Compact Bill Alive

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, threw herself a life raft tonight, attaching her Health Care Compact bill — a measure that would seek to give Texas control of the purse strings for Medicare and Medicaid — onto a Senate health care bill that the House passed on third reading.

House Tentatively OKs Medicaid Fiscal Reform Bill

The House tentatively passed a health care bill that intends to increase efficiency and cost savings in Texas' expensive Medicaid and other health programs today — but not before adding a far-ranging variety of amendments. Medicaid fraud, abortion and immigration all entered the debate, causing stirs and cheers among members. 

Overshadowed, Med Schools Face Drastic Reductions

Texas medical schools feel like the scorned children of the state’s education budget. Lost amid the pleas of parents to restore funding for public education, and the demands of college students to preserve financial aid, the state’s health care institutions say few seem to understand the drastic situation they face. Med schools say they won’t be able to fully fund the students currently enrolled, and could be forced to curb new admissions next year.

Doctors Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla, Dakshesh Parikh stand for a portrait in their offices' waiting room.
Doctors Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla, Dakshesh Parikh stand for a portrait in their offices' waiting room.

Cardiologists Accuse Hospital of Discrimination

Whether racial animus led Victoria's Citizens Medical Center to close its cardiology unit to non-staff doctors — effectively revoking the privileges of Drs. Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla and Dakshesh Kumar Parikh to practice there — is the subject of fierce debate and a discrimination lawsuit filed by the three doctors in federal district court in the Southern District of Texas. The dispute has divided Victoria’s close-knit medical community.

House Debates Anti-"Obamacare" Bills

In their latest effort to remind Washington how much they hate federal health reform, House lawmakers gave early approval tonight to one measure to hold "Obamacare" at bay and deflected, at least temporarily, another that is directed at the individual mandate for health insurance.

More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.
More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.

Elderly, Disabled Fight Pay Cut to Service Providers

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Advocates for the elderly and disabled are fighting a proposal in the Legislature that they say would reduce the wages of the personal care attendants who provide services through the Medicaid Community-Based Alternatives waiver program. While the proposal was cut out of one bill Tuesday, the same language exists in a number of other bills, including the Senate version of the budget. 

Despite Uproar, TX Lawmakers Pursue Medicare Overhaul

Across the nation, U.S. House Republicans are getting an earful from their constituents about a GOP budget proposal to overhaul federal Medicare. But that message hasn’t made its way to Texas, where state lawmakers are still angling to take control of and then restructure both Medicare and Medicaid.

Kathleen Sebelius: The TT Interview

In an exclusive on-camera interview with The Texas Tribune, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed the federal government's efforts to cooperate with a state like Texas, where GOP leaders have been hostile to the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius said Texas "has an enormous amount to gain" from the federal reforms. "We will work with [Gov. Perry] and with his team in whatever ways he chooses to work with us," she said.