As we get ready to head back to school, I want to wish all of the students, parents, and teachers a happy start to the new year! Please remember that this weekend is Texas’ back-to-school sales tax holiday! From August 5th through the 7th, you can purchase certain items tax-free. Please click here to learn more about qualifying items.
Team Oliverson has been busy the last couple of weeks, and you can read more about what we have been up to below. In this edition of the Capitol Update, you can read about:
- ALEC Conference
- Health Care Reform Select Committee Meeting
- Events Around HD 130
Last week, my staff and I attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Annual Conference in Atlanta. ALEC is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. It is a forum for stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop real, state-based solutions to encourage growth, preserve economic security, and protect hardworking taxpayers.
We attended several task force meetings and briefings on topics like prescription drug policy and combating ESG, but the highlight of the trip was sponsoring a piece of model legislation on healthcare policy. I was asked by the American First Policy Institute to be the public-sector sponsor for their model legislation on hospital price transparency. This piece of model legislation was based on Senate Bill 1137, which I passed during the 87th Legislative Session.
After a thorough discussion on the merits of this legislation, we successfully passed the act into model legislation! This means state legislators from around the country will be able to take this model and implement it in their own states.
Congratulations to the team from the American First Policy Institute on passing their first piece of model legislation at ALEC!
Health Care Reform Select Committee Meeting
Later this week, the House Select Committee on Health Care Reform will hold its first meeting. This committee was formed by Speaker Phelan earlier this year in order to examine and study issues that broadly affect the state’s health care delivery system.
At our first meeting, we will discuss the following charges:
- Study the implications of excessive health care costs on the efficacy of Texas Medicaid and the private health insurance market and the resulting impact on individual Texans, businesses, and state government:
- Examine the interaction of specific factors of health care affordability such as transparency, competition, and patient incentives. Make recommendations to expand access to health care price information to allow consumers to make informed decisions regarding their care;
- Examine the impact of government benefit, administrative, and contractual mandates imposed upon private insurance companies and their impact on employer and consumer premiums and out-of-pocket costs, including the effects of specific benefit and any-willing-provider requirements. Make recommendations for state and agency-level mandates and regulations that could be relaxed or repealed to increase the availability and affordability of private health coverage options in the state; and
- Review access to and affordability of prescription drugs.
- Monitor the implementation of, and compliance with, current price transparency requirements and study ways that the state can support patients and increase competition. Make legislative and administrative recommendations, as appropriate.
- Evaluate innovative, fiscally positive options to ensure that Texans have access to affordable, quality, and comprehensive health care, with an emphasis on reaching low-income and at-risk populations. The evaluation should include a study of strategies other states and organizations have implemented or proposed to address health care access and affordability. Make recommendations to increase primary health care access points in Texas.
The committee will hear invited testimony only, but electronic public comments will be available for: implications of excessive health care costs; current price transparency requirements; and access to affordable, quality, and comprehensive health care.
Texas residents who wish to electronically submit comments related to agenda items on this notice without testifying in person can do so until the hearing is adjourned by visiting: https://comments.house.texas.gov/home?c=c307
I am looking forward to a robust conversation on these important topics.
Events Around HD 130
As always, it has been a busy few weeks around District 130!
Representative Oliverson tours Commissioner Jack Cagle’s new Precinct 4 Tomball location. Commissioner Cagle maintains a fleet of rescue vehicles serving residents throughout Precinct 4.
Representative Oliverson getting a tour of one of Precinct 4’s rescue vehicles! We look forward to continuing our great working relationship with Precinct 4!
Our District Director, Grace attended the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce Swearing-In Ceremony for its new Board Members. From left to right are Chair Julie Peterson, Brian Sandel, Kevin Kalra, and Reverend Les Carpenter.
As always, feel free to call my office by phone at (512) 463-0661 or email District130.Oliverson@House.Texas.Gov to share any comments or concerns you may have. If you have a question about a particular bill that passed this session, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for giving me the chance to serve as your State Representative in 2022 and for placing your trust in me to continue doing so in the future.
Dr. Tom Oliverson
Republican State Representative
House District 130