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March 27, 2000     (512) 463-0300

Texas Joint Interim Committee on Health Care Mandates Meet For Public Hearing

AUSTIN--The Texas Joint Interim Committee on Health Care Mandates met for the first time today, Monday, March 27, 2000 for a public hearing at the State Capitol.

Senate committee members include Senators Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, serving as co-chair, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, John Carona of Dallas, Frank Madla of San Antonio, and Steve Ogden of Bryan. House members include Representatives Pete Gallego of Alpine, co-chair, Kip Averitt of McGregor, Craig Eiland of Dickinson, Patricia Gray of Galveston, and John Smithee of Amarillo.

Today the joint committee heard invited and public testimony regarding health care mandates. This topic of study was created during the 76th Legislative Session through the implementation of House Bill 1919 (HB 1919). HB 1919 relates to the legislative review of health care benefits that are mandated to be provided by health benefit plans. The Texas Department of Insurance is assisting the committee in conducting their study.

Representatives from the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Association of Insurance Officials, the Hospital Provider Network, the Texas Association of Business, consumer unions, independent insurance agencies, human resource consulting firms, the Texas Teacher's Retirement/Employee Retirement System, and others addressed healthcare mandates for the committee. Individuals from these health, insurance, and private organizations are currently working within group meetings and with their stakeholders in order to report their findings to the committee.

The representative from the Texas Medical Association briefly discussed how mandates should be subjected to scientific analysis and an independent review of results from these analyses. Cliff Mitchell from the Texas Association of Insurance Officials told the joint committee that more time is needed to evaluate their mandates, because his insurance officials want to get better data when reviewing mandates. And Lisa McGifford of the Consumer's Union told the committee that current insurance plans and options are often too confusing for the public to decipher. She requested insurance polices be clarified and minimized for better public utilization.

Public testimony followed. After public testimony concluded, the joint committee recessed, subject to call of the chairs.

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