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Gains on Uninsured, Reducing Shortages of Nurses/Physicians, Health Care Funding Among Session's Successes
Date:6/2/2009

AUSTIN, Texas, June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Texas Legislature made significant improvements to Texas health care that will benefit consumers as well as health care providers. Small businesses and low-income individuals in the Texas High Risk Pool will find health insurance coverage more affordable, and college students will find health coverage more accessible. Texas nursing schools will be able to enroll more students for the fall semester, which will produce more graduates to ease the state's nursing shortage. Several measures passed that will increase the supply of physicians in rural and other underserved areas. And, lawmakers used federal stimulus funds to fill the shortage in Medicaid for 2009 and increase funding for Medicaid caseload and cost growth projections for 2010-11.

"This was a productive session for hospitals," said Dan Stultz, M.D., FACP, FACHE. "For the past three sessions, the Texas Hospital Association has been working to reduce the number of uninsured Texans. Again this session, lawmakers made incremental reforms that address segments of the uninsured population," he noted. "And, lawmakers made the largest investment ever in nursing education -- a total of $49.7 million. This investment will translate to jobs for decades to come," he added. "Those residing in rural and medically underserved areas along the border and in large cities should have better access to doctors, thanks to a loan repayment program and new authority for certain public hospitals to employ physicians," Stultz said.

Addressing the Uninsured

"Sen. Jane Nelson passed legislation creating the TexLink to Health Coverage Program at the Texas Department of Insurance to help consumers and small business understand available health coverage options, as well as to promote awareness of and the importance of purchasing health insurance," Stultz said.

Sen. Nelson's bill became a vehicle for
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SOURCE Texas Hospital Association
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