Health Care and Human Services Task Force

Objective: The objectives of the Health Care and Human Services Task Force are to pursue reforms that promote fiscal and personal responsibility in the state’s health and human services programs, that encourage innovative models for health care utilization and reimbursement, and that create a strong free market for health care in Texas.

Topics: Texas Medicaid program (including waiver requests, co-pays, and patient responsibility agreements), the Affordable Care Act, health insurance, individual mandates, telemedicine, Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) and pharmacy benefit manager regulations, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Overview: The Task Force will focus on ensuring that Texas lawmakers are prepared to address the state’s myriad health and human services issues with commonsense market-driven policies. While the ACA and future of the Medicaid program remain a paramount issue, the Task Force will also expand its focus to ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of other government-subsidized HHS programs, increasing access to care for all Texans, encouraging innovation in how care is access and reimbursed, and reducing unnecessary and costly mandates that drive up the cost of health care:

Continue to assess any opportunities at the federal level to roll back ACA mandates and pursue greater flexibility in the Medicaid program by implementing reforms that promote individual accountability, such as patient co-pays or premium sharing, patient responsibility agreements, missed appointment fees, and the ability to offer tailored benefits packages.

  • Examining and building upon initiatives to increase consumer access to health care, such as the expanded use of telemedicine, enhanced utilization of mid-level practitioners, increasing the state’s health care workforce, and the appropriate role of the Texas 1115 Medicaid waiver in providing access to care for the Medicaid and indigent population.
  •  A study of the state’s use of MCOs to deliver health and long-term services and supports to a majority of the state’s Medicaid population, including the positive impacts of this model on enrollee health outcomes and savings. Monitor the re-procurement of major Medicaid and CHIP services contracts. Evaluate any additional measures that should be taken by the state to enhance or improve the use of MCOs, or whether any existing laws impede the viability or success of this model.
  • Reviewing opportunities to increase the integrity of the state’s health and human services programs (Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, TANF), and the process by which applicants are deemed eligible for these programs to ensure that finite federal and state resources are used as effectively as possible. Initiatives that deserve further study include the increased eligibility verification efforts in HHSC Rider 201, printing recipient names on SNAP and TANF electronic transfer benefit (EBT) cards, increasing access to work and job training opportunities and requirements, and examining the role of non-governmental entities in the eligibility application and renewal process.
  • An evaluation of the state’s investment in mental health services at the state and local levels, and where state resources are best focused in addressing mental health issues.
  • A review of nontraditional health care utilization and payment models that encourage pricing transparency and consumer choice.
  • An assessment of the impact of unfunded mandates and burdensome regulatory requirements on the commercial and individual health care marketplace at both the federal and state levels, and any federal action impacting current ACA provisions. Continue to explore opportunities for Texas to take advantage of any new federal changes and implement market-driven reforms to decrease the cost of health care and undo some of Obamacare’s damage to the private sector health insurance market.