NEWS: TEXAS HOUSE EXPANDS TELEHEALTH; REDUCES PRESCRIPTION COSTS FOR TEXANS IN NEED
The Texas House on Wednesday passed two key pieces of health care reform policy that will help Texans have more options to access care and reduce the cost of prescriptions for Texans in need. House Bill 4 by state Representative Four Price and House Bill 18 by state Representative Tom Oliverson were both passed by the Texas House and are on their way for consideration in the Texas Senate.
House Bill 4, when paired with the extensive Broadband Expansion Plan in HB 5 (by Rep. Trent Ashby), serves as an important component of adding more telehealth options across the state. Both HB 4 and HB 5 work in tandem to allow for a virtual access network that can serve Texans in their own homes, meaning expedited access to health care professionals without any extra burden on patients.
House Bill 18, referred to as the Texas Cares Act, creates a new self-sustaining fund that will allow Texans to access low-cost prescription medications. That fund is replenished annually by the rebates received from the companies that provide those prescriptions to local pharmacies. Unlike most health programs, this one will not add any additional burden to the taxpayer and has the ability to serve up to 3 million Texans who are uninsured or underinsured.
These bills serve as pieces of Speaker Dade Phelan's "Healthy Families, Healthy Texans" program rolled out at a press conference earlier this month. Republicans are working to continue the progress made in the 86th legislature when they banned surprise medical billing. This session, the Texas House Republican Caucus, and its members are building upon that success by pushing for more transparency in medical billing, more affordable plans in Texas, and expanding access to care whether it's related to dental, mental, or physical health.
Want to learn more? Listen to Dr. Oliverson explain HB 18 and other health care policy on a recent episode of "Let's Talk Texas," the podcast for the Texas House Republican Caucus.