P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2007
AUSTIN -- Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, today was selected as presiding officer of the Medicaid Reform Legislative Oversight Committee -- a panel that will guide the state's continuing efforts to reform Medicaid. Medicaid accounts for 20 percent of the state budget and provides health care to more than 3.7 million needy, sick or fragile Texans.
"Because Texas spreads more health care dollars across more diverse regions than any other state, it is vital that we make the best possible use of our health care resources," Senator Nelson said. "That means being innovative and forward-thinking in our approach to the poor, the frail and the uninsured. We laid a solid foundation last session. Now we must build on that success so that we can ensure the health of our citizens in a way that keeps us fiscally healthy, as well."
The most pressing job of the Oversight Committee will be to oversee the state's application for a federal Medicaid waiver so that key provisions of SB 10 by Senator Nelson, which the Legislature approved last session, can be implemented.
"The responsibilities given to the Committee are substantial and extremely important to the state," said Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who made today's appointments. "I look forward to your findings, and I greatly appreciate your commitment to serving on this committee."
Following are some of the key provisions of SB 10:
- Rewards Medicaid patients who complete smoking cessation, weight loss and other preventative health programs;
- Encourages Medicaid managed care plans to enroll patients in "value-added" preventative health services;
- Creates customized benefit plans that are tailored to a patient's individual health care needs;
- Creates a pilot program for Health Savings Accounts under Medicaid, which would be completely optional;
- Expands the effort to assist with the cost of premiums for those who are Medicaid-eligible but have access to employer-based plans;
- Expands efforts to stop fraud and abuse;
- Authorizes co-pays for non-emergency visits to hospital emergency rooms, providing that there are alternative health care options available;
- Standardizes the way hospitals report uncompensated care to eliminate guesswork involved in the state's cost projections; and
- Evaluates possible expansion of integrated care management to areas where it is currently unavailable.
- Develops a model in which regional partnerships can be created to allow the state, employers and local governments or charitable entities to join together in efforts to connect Texans with health coverage;
- Creates a committee to recommend incentives for more employers to offer health and long-term care insurance;
- Establishes a low income funding pool that could be used to set aside a portion of federal uncompensated care dollars to connect low-income families with private health care.