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May 10, 2011 (512) 463-0300

COMMITTEE LOOKS AT HEALTHCARE FLEXIBILITY

Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound
Health and Human Services Committee Chair Jane Nelson carried the House bill that would allow the state to partner with other states to administer its own health care system.

(AUSTIN) — Texas would petition the federal government for more flexibility in administering its own state-funded health care under a bill considered before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday. HB 5, sponsored by committee chair and Flower Mound Senator Jane Nelson, seeks to create multi-state compacts, where states can band together to request federal funding for Medicaid, Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program, but without federal strings attached. This would allow individual states to tailor healthcare needs while factoring in local considerations. "The federal government's one-size-fits-all policies are not always right for Texas. The decisions regarding the healthcare of Texans should be made by Texans," said Nelson.

Under the bill, Texas could band together with other states, and petition Congress to create a compact. If the Congress approves, all the compact states would receive federal money to administer federally-mandated healthcare services. The compact would be governed by a commission made up of one representative from each member state, each with one vote. Testimony offered before the committee indicated that the administration and goals of health care in each state would have to be substantially similar for Congress to approve the creation of a compact. Specific details of the compact policies would come further on down the road; the bill considered Tuesday would only authorize the state to enter into such a compact.

The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, May 11 at 11 a.m.


Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.

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