Blog by W. Stephen Love, President/CEO, DFW Hospital Council
Margaret Chase Smith once said, “Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.”
The 85th Texas Legislative Session begins Jan. 10, 2017. We thank our state leaders for their public service and their dedication to Texas. The long hours and conscientious efforts through the legislative process underscores their commitment.
This legislative session will be challenging because the budget will be front and center. The decrease of oil prices, reduction of sales tax and budget priorities will certainly impact the atmosphere in Austin. We are in this together and working collaboratively will produce meaningful results for all stakeholders. Our main priorities will be:
• Supporting the long-term extension of our Medicaid 1115 Transformation Waiver;
• Striving for comprehensive health insurance coverage;
• Preserving trauma care funding to mitigate uncompensated emergency care, and;
• Supporting expansion of telemedicine and virtual health initiatives.
We must all work together on reducing physician, nursing and allied health workforce shortages. We can achieve this through enhanced funding for educational programs directed towards faculty salaries, student scholarships and financial aid focusing on prevention and wellness.
Hopefully, the federal public policy will include meaningful refinement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We must now wait and see as President-Elect Donald Trump has stated he wants to repeal the ACA. We always work in a bipartisan manner when advocating our priorities, so we hope to work collaboratively in protecting patient access to quality care. We might just agree more than we think.
The 85th Texas Legislative Session will be difficult, but if everyone works together, our collective impact will benefit the health of all Texans. It’s the right thing to do as we strive for better health, better care and better value.