Thursday, November 8, 2018

#TXLEGE: How to EXPAND FREEDOM and Lower Health Care costs (even with more D's)....

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,"
Ephesians 3:20

One of the realities imposed by Tuesday is that we're going to have to get creative.  This afternoon, TPPF's discussion "Empowering Advanced RN's can save Texas lives" offers one such possibility.  Scope-of-practice reform.

The short version of scope of practice reform is that not every medical issue needs to be treated by a licensed physician; we wrote a longer description last February:
Texas currently has a shortage of health care providers across the state. 36 counties have zero physicians. 80 counties have five physicians or fewer. While this is often a problem in rural areas, there are parts of the cities that aren't much better. East Austin and East Houston are the two most obvious examples.

Given the geographically dispersed nature of the issue, a broad based coalition is emerging to promote "scope of practice" reform. TPPF has been joined by the AARP and the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities. The proposed reforms would enable nurse practitioners to perform many functions currently limited to licensed physicians.

Supporters made fairly standard free-market arguments in favor of the reforms. Fewer regulations will mean more providers. More providers means more competition which means more options at lower prices for health care consumers.
This is an interesting issue for next session.   As we made clear back in February, and as today's event reinforced, there's support for this across the political spectrum.  Therein lies opportunity.

Several months ago we spoke with a senior Democrat in the Texas house.  She expressed support.  Given the reality of vote totals next session, that's worth considering.  In some communities, increasing the supply of medical providers is literally a lifeline.

It's worth noting, though it might not mean much, that the Texas "Medical" Association representative on today's panel was less obstinate than members of that organization we've seen discuss this issue previously.

Finally, from a macro-political perspective: If we want to cut off support for a Bernie Sanders style single payer/medicare for all type proposal, we really ought to start taking modest steps taking

Bottom Line: If you can take a modest, but tangible, step to lower health care costs, you should.  That's especially true next session.  Scope-of-practice reform is a lower profile issue, but it's one that could be powerful.

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