WILLIAMS PASSES NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE
|Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound lays out her proposal to increase long-term Medicaid coverage through the state managed care program.|
(AUSTIN) — The Senate Nominations Committee on Monday unanimously approved the appointment of Michael Williams as Texas Commissioner of Education. Williams, a former Railroad Commissioner, was named to the post in August of 2012 by Governor Rick Perry. Senators from both political parties praised Williams at Monday's hearing for his work in the post so far. They questioned him about a number of issues, including how many end-of-course exams he thinks students should take. Williams said he thinks eight is the right number, three more than a bill currently before the Senate Education Committee that would reduce the number of EoC exams to five. The full Senate will vote on whether to finally confirm Williams as Education Commissioner sometime this week or next.
In session Monday, the Senate approved a bill aimed at reducing costs to long-term and chronic care for Texans with intellectual or physical disabilities while increasing coverage. Bill author and Health and Human Service Chair Jane Nelson stressed that the bill cuts no services nor reduces anyone's eligibility. "All services currently being provided will continue under Senate Bill 7. All individuals currently being served will continue to be served, " she said. "In addition, this bill provides services to 12,000 individuals who currently receive no long-term care services."
Nelson's bill would extend the state's managed healthcare system to rural areas, and would bring nursing homes into that program as well. The bill includes more money for community-based care and would create a new assessment tool to ensure that clients get services they need and not services they don't. Nelson says the money to fund this bill will come from the savings garnered through the managed care program and other efficiencies. This bill now heads to the House for approval.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, March 26 at 11 a.m.