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 ...


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.

Liveblog: Reform or Bust?

We liveblogged this morning from the Austin Club, where the subject of today's TribLive was health care: Reform or Bust? The topics of conversation: the costs — and solutions — for Medicaid, payment reform in Texas vs. the federal health overhaul, and what kind of hit Texas' neediest patients will take in budget cuts.

UT/TT Poll: Texans Are Ready to Roll the Dice

A majority of the state's voters say they're ready for full-blown casino gambling, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. In a range of questions on social and other issues, they say they support requiring voters to produce photo IDs, government aid to the poor, the death penalty and requiring doctors to show sonogram results to women seeking abortions.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

TPPF, State Leaders: Medicaid Growth Is "Unsustainable"

The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, joined with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Public Health Chair Lois Kolkhorst this morning to offer solutions to the state's Medicaid cost crunch. They suggested Medicaid, which currently makes up 28 percent of the state budget, will grow to nearly half of the state budget in the 2014-15 biennium, a spike they said is completely unsustainable. 

Texas Seeks Medicaid Waiver, but Prognosis Is Poor

Only months ago, Texas lawmakers threatened to drop out of Medicaid. Now, Texas and other financially struggling states are asking Washington for permission to operate the program as they see fit. The feds are unlikely to agree — further fueling the fire behind the state’s anti-Washington, state-sovereignty rhetoric.