By Anna Chatillon
Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition
In the midst of the chaos and inevitable drama of the 84th Texas Legislature, we risk overlooking one piece of news with the potential to change thousands of lives for the better. Funding for women’s preventive health care services, such as annual check-ups and contraceptive care, was increased by nearly $50 million in the state budget for the coming biennium.
In 2011, draconian budget cuts to Texas’ Family Planning program devastated the women’s health care safety net. When the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, a collaboration of 60 member organizations led by TAFP and others, was formed in 2012, its aim was to restore that funding. The Coalition’s successful advocacy restored the funding in 2013 through the Texas Women’s Health Program and the Expanded Primary Health Care program, in addition to the Family Planning program.more
By Joey Berlin
The Texas Public Health Coalition and diligent physicians earned significant victories during the 84th Texas Legislature in their drive to reduce tobacco and electronic cigarette use.
Lawmakers also provided the Texas Department of State Health Services with a likely bump in chronic disease prevention funding, and an effort to keep children’s immunization records in the state registry through their early adult years made its way into law.more
By Vincent J. Mandola, MD
March 25, 2015 was a day I will never forget. It was the day I watched my mother take her last breath. She was 56 years old and had battled cancer for two years. It was a surreal time stepping into the unknown for my close family, but it’s not the moment of her passing I want to write about here. It is the days leading up to that moment, as this experience has given me a new outlook on end-of-life care.
After surgery and nearly a year and a half of chemotherapy, mom was determined to have a couple of decent weeks before what she knew was inevitable. She had just been discharged from the hospital for uncontrolled pain and sent home under hospice care.more
By Dale Ragle, MD
TAFP President, 2014-2015
On April 16, 2015, President Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which phases out Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate payment formula over the next 10 years. The so-called “doc fix” enjoyed bipartisan and bicameral support in Congress, a rare phenomenon these days, as well as support from most major medical organizations, including AAFP and the American Medical Association. In spite of broad support, the bill took more than a year of tweaking and survived innumerable negotiations between both political parties and the White House, a testament to the adage that “the devil is in the details.”
The SGR formula tied Medicare expenditures to the gross domestic product. Since demand and utilization of health care services do not rise and fall directly with the ebbs and flows of the general economy, the SGR often threatened to cut physician fees year after year. Perennially, Congress passed special legislation to delay the fee cuts, often only finding they have to repeat the action in the following year.more