TMA Leaders, Governor Abbott Talk Health Care Legislation
Houston area doctor among four to meet with Texas Governor
One of those leaders — Diana Fite, MD, chair of TMA’s Board of Trustees — says she left the meeting believing health care will be among the Texas Legislature’s top issues in the coming session, which convenes Jan. 8.
Along with Dr. Fite, the TMA contingent included TMA President Doug Curran, MD; Immediate Past President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD; and President-Elect David Fleeger, MD.
During the approximately 20-minute meeting, Dr. Fite says the TMA leaders chatted with Governor Abbott about medicine’s aims for Medicaid, including extending benefits for pregnant mothers post-delivery. She says the governor stressed that he wants specific ideas from medicine regarding Medicaid, rather than just generalized requests for more money for the program.
The doctors also shared experiences in which their colleagues have faced increasing pressure from corporations to support the company’s bottom line over the best interests of patients.
“We talked about corporate practice of medicine, that doctors need to be practicing medicine, not the corporations or these companies that are now owning practices,” Dr. Fite said.
Some of TMA’s other legislative priorities for 2019 include:
- Modernizing Medicaid, in part by increasing physician payments in the program and reducing administrative burden;
- Renewing the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and the Texas Medical Practice Act, which collectively became a political football in the 2017 session before lawmakers re-authorized TMB through Sept. 1, 2019; and
- Requiring health insurance companies to provide adequate networks and reduce red tape for patients.
According to Dr. Fite, Governor Abbott said he’d be happy to meet with TMA leaders again. He also encouraged the doctors to work with Courtney Phillips, who became the new executive commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in October. Original story appears here and electronic TMA newsletter here.