COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: States Following Texas’ Lead
Today's Austin American-Statesman takes a look at how states across the nation have been inspired by the Texas Legislature's recent passage of a bill that would permit competing physicians to consult one another on contract terms and jointly negotiate fees. The bill is "the first of its kind in any state," marking the second time in recent years that Texas has led the nation in a specific area of managed care reform -- the first being passage of a law granting patients the right to sue their HMOs. Ross Rubin, Vice President of legislative affairs for the American Medical Association, said, "We expect that there will be a number of states (that) will pick up on this after the success of Texas. We see this as a bellwether for the country." Regardless of the fact that Gov. George W. Bush (R) has not signed the bill and despite predictions by the HMO lobby that even if it becomes law, it will not stand up in court, Texas Medical Association lobbyist Kim Ross was in Washington yesterday, "'sharing his playbook' with lobbyists from 30 other states." Ken Jones, General Counsel for the Pennsylvania Medical Society, said, "We're hoping to imitate Texas. I think we'd be having an internal discussion right now were it not for the situation" there. The American-Statesman reports that in addition to Pennsylvania, "physician associations in Ohio, New Jersey and New York are gearing up to push negotiations bills in their statehouses this year" (Park, 6/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.