April 7, 2021 (Austin, Texas) –Yesterday, Texas medical leaders from across the state testified before the Texas House Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence to oppose House Bill 1617. The doctors voiced concerns with the bill’s legislative overreach into the independent practice of medicine and its push for government rate setting for physician compensation.
“Texas has a proud legacy of supporting free markets and the independent practice of medicine,” said Jacob Rosenstein, M.D., Arlington-based neurosurgeon. “House Bill 1617 undermines that legacy and makes Texas a leader for single-payer health care where the government determines what fair and reasonable payment amounts should be.”
House Bill 1617 will require physicians to accept payment for care of patients in personal injury cases that is tied to below-cost workers’ compensation reimbursement rates in order to avoid abusive discovery of private contracts and information and being subject to challenges to their medical judgment and charges by anyone, regardless of their background, education and training, or expertise.
Hospitals have the option of accepting payment amounts based on actual charges, not artificially low government rates, to avoid discovery and insurance company challenges.
“There is no doubt that if this bill becomes law, independent physician practices will be a thing of the past,” said Dallas-based Aimee Schimizzi, M.D., orthopedic surgeon. “We cannot keep our doors open to the patients who need us if we are hamstrung by artificially low government-set payment rates. HB 1617 is a death knell for competition in Texas and will bring unnecessary, and possibly catastrophic, delays in care for all Texas patients.”