Monday, November 12, 2018


What will Texas do to reign in health care costs for the public good. We may soon find out………….

The Texas legislature meets once every two years. The next session begins January 8, 2019. This year’s session will be very interesting in regards to public policy on health care issues in the state.

Monday, November 12, 2018 will be the first day legislators and legislators-elect may file bills for the 86th Legislature.

Will any bills be introduced to allow Texas school districts to exit the imploding TRS ActiveCare health plan? Will Reference Based Pricing strategies become mandated and memorialized within public purchasing statutes?

The ERS state employee benefit program and the TRS ActiveCare program for public school districts are projected to run into even higher deficits unless something is done this session. Throwing more money at continuing rising health care costs is one option. Another is to reduce benefits. Or both. However all of us recognize these strategies don’t work, and will never work. Need evidence? We have been doing the same thing year after year producing the same results year after year which is…….. higher health care costs and less benefits, continued erosion of the middle class, stifling wages and stagnating business growth.

There is another option the legislature may consider this session, (drum roll please), which is mandating Reference Based Pricing options.  A bill requiring political subdivisons within the state to include Reference Based Pricing as an option in all competitive procurement processes may be politically expedient since “options” offer more choice without directly threatening the status quo. Both state run health plans, for example, offer several options now including PPO and HMO choices. Adding Reference Based Pricing as a third option makes sense. Everyone likes more choice and it allows Texans to choose the best option for their individual best interests. That’s truly a traditional Texas value proposition. How do you argue against that?

Another possibility is a bill similar to one currently under consideration in California.(California Assembly Bill 3087 Would Control Prices in the Commercial Market)

Something has to be done. We may find out on November 12, 2018 ………………………………