2013 Review

83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature Adjourns – Analysis

The 83rd regular session of the Texas Legislature adjourned on May 27th, 2013. An additional 30 day session was convened by the Governor. According to the Texas constitution, only those specific issues which the Governor wants addressed can be considered during this special session. None of these issues have to do with our interests.
The results of the 83rd regular legislative session can best be described as mixed. On the positive side, only two bills, SB 460 and HB 3793, were passed that posed a threat to health freedom (these two bills were addressed in our last health freedom alert). No scope of practice legislation was even filed by any special interest group.
The latter can be attributed largely to the current fiscal environment, i.e., the members of the legislature on both sides of the aisle recognize that any bill which creates a new fiscal obligation for the state will not pass, so there’s no use in even filing it.
However, in the specific case of bills of interest to us, over the last several legislative sessions we have created a very effective network of relationships among key members of the legislature. These members recognize that any bill which restricts our freedom of choice will result in massive opposition by us, so they avoid that by discouraging the filing of restrictive scope of practice legislation. That is a tribute to your ongoing involvement with and interest in protecting your health freedom. Please give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for staying engaged.
Also, thanks to the effort and support of our friend Rep. David Simpson, we were able to get House Joint Resolution (HJR) 125, our proposed health freedom constitutional amendment, filed. Many thanks to Rep. Simpson for agreeing to author HJR 125. It is an important first step in our two pronged effort to put into place a truly durable protection of our right to choose the health care treatment of our choice.
Why do we characterize this effort as “two pronged”? We have extensively studied the health freedom legislative efforts in other states. Although several groups in those states have succeeded in getting health freedom legislation passed, the common denominator is there is nothing to preclude an economically motivated special interest group from coming in the very next legislative session and trying to undo those efforts. Without a truly durable solution, one which precludes such groups from even filing such a bill, we must always be on alert.
The most effective way of implementing such a strategy is to pass both a constitutional amendment guaranteeing our access to all available health care remedies and therapies, and so-called “implementing legislation,” which modifies existing health care law to comply with the constitutional amendment. Due to the constraints of time, we were only able to file the constitutional amendment this session. It is our intention to file both pieces of legislation next session.
This brings up an equally important point: the only way in which we will successfully implement this, or any other, strategy is to procure the services of a proven effective lobbyist. And that can only occur if we raise the money to pay them. Our Coalition is incorporated as a 501(c)(4) non-profit lobbying organization. Donations are not tax deductible.
But think about it for a minute: what would happen if your right of access to (or, if you are a practitioner, your right to practice) the health care treatment of your choice were taken away? Is it worth $10 a month to protect that right? Is it worth spreading this message to your family and friends? Only you can decide, and that decision will have a powerful effect on our efforts going forward.
If we can’t raise the money to fund lobbying support, then by default we can only play defense. While that will certainly allow us to protect ourselves against restrictive scope of practice bills, it does nothing to change the status quo. Do we really want to continue that status quo, which includes the Texas Medical Board filing over 2,300 letters of complaint against unlicensed practitioners annually? Only you, by your action, can decide.

Thanks for your support of Texas Health Freedom,

The Executive Committee
Texas Health Freedom Coalition

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