The Senate State Affairs Committee is charged with conducting a thorough and detailed study of the following issues, including state and federal requirements, and preparing recommendations to address problems or issues that are identified.
- Study the implementation of changes made to the state group health insurance plans and identify additional cost-saving measures. Study the feasibility and practicality of offering health reimbursement accounts as an alternate health insurance plan for those insured in ERS, TRS, and university plans. Provide recommendations regarding whether the current method of administering these programs is in the best interest of the State of Texas and the various insured populations, or whether such programs might be more efficiently administered in another fashion.
- Monitor the implementation of HB 1549, 78th Legislature, the Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, to assure that Texas meets the criteria to secure the proposed federal funding. Make recommendations for statutory changes required to implement federal legislation and improve the efficiency of the process.
- Study the implementation of SB 10 and SB 541, and make recommendations, as needed, to make health insurance more accessible, and affordable for all Texans.
- Study the April 2003 United States Supreme Court decision in Kentucky Association of Health Plans v. Miller to determine its impact on Texas laws regulating health insurance plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and make recommendations to changes in state law to conform with recent federal court decisions.
- Study the reimbursement methodology of health care plans operating in Texas for out-of-network claims, specifically focusing upon the reimbursement of usual and customary charges, and make recommendations on how to improve their effectiveness. The study and recommendations should encompass all plans, including those participating in Texas’ Medicaid managed care program and should consider federal and state laws as well as Health & Human Services Commission rules relating to the reimbursement of out-of-network claims.
- Study the implementation of House Bill 4 and Proposition 12 in achieving lower medical malpractice rates and providing more access to affordable health care. Monitor and report on trends in medical malpractice insurance rates and the effect of tort reform on access to health care and provider shortages in certain regions, particularly along the Border.
- Study and report on the affordability, reasonableness, and impact of mandatory liability insurance on the nursing home industry. Assess and report on the effects of the admissibility of quality reports.
The Committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2004. The printing of reports should be coordinated through the Secretary of the Senate. Copies of the final report should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor (5 copies), Secretary of the Senate, Senate Research, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, and Legislative Reference Library.
The final report should include recommended statutory or agency rulemaking changes, if applicable. Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the Committee. Recommendations should also include state and local fiscal cost estimates, where feasible. The Legislative Budget Board is available to assist in this regard.
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Budget and Staff
Travel costs shall be paid from the operating budgets of Senate members. All other costs shall be borne by the Senate State Affairs Committee’s interim budget, as approved by the Senate Administration Committee. Due to overall budget constraints, it is recommended each interim committee budget include only critical expenditures and, where possible, reductions from previous spending levels.
The Committee should also seek the assistance of legislative and executive branch agencies where appropriate.
Pursuant to Section 301.041, Government Code, it may be necessary to change the membership of a committee if a member is not returning to the Legislature in 2005. This will ensure that the work of interim committees is carried forward into the 79th Legislative Session.
77th Legislature's Senate State Affairs Committee .
76th Legislature's Senate State Affairs Committee .