Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

Thursday, Sept. 5, 2002
CONTACT: Committee Clerk Ms. Laura Garcia, General Counsel
Phone: 512-463-0127

Interim Committee on Binational Health Benefit Plan Coverage to hold public hearing in Harlingen
Who:    State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., Co-Chairman, and members of the committee
What:   Interim Committee on Binational Health Benefit Plan Coverage
When:  Monday, Sept. 9, 2002, at 10 a.m.
Where: Woodward Conference Center at Valley Baptist Medical Center, 2101 Pease Street, Harlingen
Why:    To determine need for binational health benefit plan coverage

AUSTIN, TX--The Binational Health Benefit Plan Coverage was created through an amendment that Sen. Lucio, Chairman of the Border Affairs Committee, was successful in adding to House Bill 2498 by state Rep. Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso during the 77th Legislature. Sen. Lucio sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

The interim committee will afford the state an opportunity to begin to identify the many complex and unique health issues along the Texas-Mexico Border. The goal of the study is to formulate recommendations for the development of affordable, accessible health care coverage along both sides of the Border.

The specific charges of the subcommittee are:
1. Determine the need for binational health benefit plan coverage.
2. Assess the health care needs of the Border area and evaluate those needs that can be served by various types of providers.
3. Assess the affordability, cost-effectiveness, economic impact and improved health status achievable through a binational health benefit plan coverage.

Along with Sen. Lucio, state Rep. Jim Solis, D-Harlingen, was appointed to the committee, as well as the following: Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor; Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Don Gilbert; Dr. Elena Marin from Su Clinica Familiar in Harlingen; Mr. James Springfield, executive vice president/chief operating officer of Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen; and Ms. Irene A. Armendariz, executive director of Superior Health Plan from El Paso.