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House Committee on Insurance - 80th R.S. (2007)

Committee Members
John Smithee, Chair
Todd Smith, Vice Chair
Larry Taylor, Chair - Budget & Oversight
Craig Eiland
Kelly Hancock
Armando Martinez
Senfronia Thompson
Hubert Vo
Beverly Woolley
Charges
• Examine states that have made the transition from heavily regulated health insurance markets to less regulated markets in order to assess the impact on market competitiveness, prices, consumer satisfaction, and regulatory costs in those states. Specifically, identify current barriers and possible enhancements to flexibility in purchasing health insurance, including the purchase of health insurance plans offered in other states. Review and evaluate state law and agency rules related to the use of health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements, particularly for small businesses. Review possible tax incentives for purchasing private insurance.
• Study the practice of balance billing by medical providers and determine which portions of the cost of out-of-network care patients, insurers and providers should ultimately be responsible for paying.
• Research state and federal law to determine whether Texas may enact legislation that mandates proof of financial responsibility for vehicles entering the United States through Texas, as Texas citizens are required to provide when they enter Mexico. Study the possible benefits and costs of such legislation.
• Study and make recommendations on increasing the portability of health insurance in an increasingly fluid Texas labor market.
• Make recommendations on potential alternatives to the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool for providing private health insurance to otherwise uninsurable individuals.
• Study and make recommendations regarding the feasibility of establishing a "health insurance exchange" in Texas.
• Study the need for a state catastrophe fund to protect the Texas economy against major disasters. Examine the structure and performance of such funds in other states and assess the potential of such as fund to reduce the reinsurance costs and premiums borne by Texas homeowners.
• Research and evaluate the potential costs and benefits to the State of Texas of providing coverage for bariatric surgical procedures for state employees who have a specified minimum years of service with the state.
• Monitor the continued implementation of the Texas Financial Responsibility Verification Program authorized by SB 1670, 79th Legislature, Regular Session, and determine whether any further statutory enhancements are needed to reduce the number of uninsured motorists in Texas. (Joint Interim Charge with the House Committee on Transportation.)
• Monitor the Texas workers' compensation system and the continued implementation of the reforms of HB 7, 79th Legislature, Regular Session, by the Texas Department of Insurance and other state agencies. Specifically, evaluate the recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court in Entergy v. Summers in terms of its impact on the system. (Joint Interim Charge with the House Committee on Business and Industry.)
• Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction.

Note:
Charges issued by the Speaker November 28, 2007.

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