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 ...

Leaders from Texas Hospital Association and other hospital groups urge members of the Texas House to protect funding for local hospitals, doctors and nurses. March 29th, 2011
Leaders from Texas Hospital Association and other hospital groups urge members of the Texas House to protect funding for local hospitals, doctors and nurses. March 29th, 2011

Texas Hospitals: Budget Cuts Are Too Deep

Texas hospital officials, anticipating a House budget vote later this week, warned this morning that the current proposal could mean funding cuts of up to 37 percent for some hospitals.

Texas Medicaid Costs Vary Widely by Hospital, Area

The cost of common medical procedures paid for by Texas Medicaid varies dramatically from hospital to hospital and region to region, according to a Texas Tribune analysis. A routine delivery at St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital costs twice as much as at Christus St. Catherine Hospital in Katy, just 50 miles away. A coronary bypass? The Laredo Medical Center bills Medicaid nearly $5,500 more for one than the Harlingen Medical Center.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/21/11

M. Smith on the continuing controversy over Beaumont's school administrators, Tan on the deepening divide over the consequences of the House budget, Hamilton on the latest in the fight over higher ed accountability, Grissom on young inmates in adult prisons, Aguilar on the voter ID end game, Tan and Hasson's Rainy Day Fund infographic, Ramsey on the coming conflict over school district reserves, M. Smith and Aguilar on Laredo ISD's missing Social Security numbers, Galbraith on environmental regulators bracing for budget cuts and Ramshaw on greater scrutiny of neonatal intensive care units: The best of our best content from March 21 to 25, 2011.

Leo Linbeck III, Houston builder and vice chair of the national Health Care Compact Alliance.
Leo Linbeck III, Houston builder and vice chair of the national Health Care Compact Alliance.

Leo Linbeck III: The TT Interview

The Houston builder and Health Care Compact Alliance vice chair on how an interstate compact could fix health care in Texas — and give the state some semblance of local control over what he calls an unsustainable health care system.

Community home care advocates for children rally on the 
South  steps of the Capitol against budget cuts
Community home care advocates for children rally on the South steps of the Capitol against budget cuts

Activists Rally for Home Health Care

Health care providers who treat profoundly disabled children at home face major budget cuts this session — cuts they say would devastate their industry and cost the state more in the long run.

Rural Hospitals Hope to Change Hiring Law

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A Texas law dating back to the 1800s that keeps hospitals from directly hiring doctors comes before lawmakers today, in a flurry of bills designed to remove the ban — either for an individual hospital district, or for all the state's rural hospitals. 

New Day Rising: The Changing Public Policy Landscape

At the Tribune's New Day Rising symposium on Feb. 28, four public policy experts — Talmadge Helfin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Rebecca Bernhardt of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Jerel Booker of Stand for Children Texas and Eva DeLuna Castro of the Center for Public Policy Priorities — talked about criminal justice, education, health care and other issues that will be impacted by the coming Hispanic majority.

Budget Rider Would Emphasize Primary Care

A controversial budget proposal would concentrate the money the state spends on graduate medical residencies into the doctors’ first three years of training. That would fully fund family physicians, who train for three years, but not specialists like cardiologists and radiologists, who train for four to seven years.   

Gloria Garza, who had a liver transplant in 2009 at the University Transplant Center in San Antonio, stands with her husband, George, at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg on March 2.
Gloria Garza, who had a liver transplant in 2009 at the University Transplant Center in San Antonio, stands with her husband, George, at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg on March 2.

Doctors, Transplant Patients Hope to Dispel Myths

In 2004, doctors told Gloria Garza she needed a new liver to stay alive. Five years later, the McAllen native's wish was granted, after the family of a deceased person agreed to donate one. That Garza is even alive is surprising in a predominantly Hispanic region where cultural and religious beliefs further impede organ donations, which already face hurdles of genetics and matching blood types.

Medicare UPL Distribution by Texas Senate Districts
Medicare UPL Distribution by Texas Senate Districts

Mapping Where Federal Hospital Dollars Go in Texas

State health officials hope they've reached a breakthrough in their effort to achieve two seemingly competing goals: expanding Medicaid managed care, and keeping a combined $1 billion in federal health care dollars flowing into Texas hospitals every year. Check out our maps to see which House and Senate districts have the most to lose if UPL dollars can't be preserved.

Guy Clifton: The TT Interview

The Houston neurosurgeon, frequent health care adviser to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and author of Flatlined: Resuscitating American Medicine on his support for the individual health insurance mandate, why cutting provider rates to rescue the state budget is misguided and how far Texas would trim Medicaid if given permission from the federal government. 

Will Smoking Cuts Add to Health Care Costs?

Finding ways to cut health care costs is all the rage under the Pink Dome — and curbing smoking is a proven way to do it. But both the House and Senate budget proposals slash tobacco cessation programs by more than 80 percent, or $20 million over the biennium. Health care advocates argue that the money, which comes from a multibillion dollar lawsuit settled with big tobacco companies, is supposed to be used for anti-smoking education.

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, at TribLive on February 23, 2011.
State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, at TribLive on February 23, 2011.

Audio: A Conversation About Health Care

For our latest TribLive event, I talked about federal health care reform and the consequences of the state's budget shortfall on health and human services programs with state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, Anne Dunkelberg of the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Tom Banning of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians.