House Representative

Martinez , Armando "Mando"



AUSTIN--Today Representative Armando "Mando" Martinez (Weslaco) proposed healthcare legislation in front of the Public Health Committee at the State Capitol in Austin. The three bills he presented included: House Bill 2881, HB 1169 and HB 2885.
HB 2881, otherwise known as the Texas Affordable Health Insurance Benefit Program, would create a healthcare plan for families who do not qualify for Medicaid and/or their children who do not qualify for CHIP. The bill would target families who earn a combined income of up to $100,000 and individuals earning up to $55,000.

"Unfortunately, the current insurance plan is flawed," stated Martinez. "Every Texan deserves health insurance and it's time we came up with a solution."

Both HB 1169 and HB 2885 pertain to public health issues affecting Texans. The Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Incubator Program was created in 2003 to provide seed money to community primary care organizations seeking to become an FQHC, and to assist existing health centers to expand to new locations or offer new services. As proposed, HB 1169 reauthorizes this program which is currently set to expire on September 1, 2009. It also modifies the program to allow Department of State Health Services to support ongoing start-up operations at health centers, rather than one-time support, until Federal support can be obtained.

Rep Martinez remarked, "Federal funds are extremely competitive and not always available exactly when a health center needs them, House Bill 1169 is a step in the right direction in correcting this problem."

Nursing shortages continue to be a concern in the healthcare community. Currently, the Board of Nursing has the authority to revoke a school of nursing or educational program license if the pass rate on the applicable licensing examination of that particular school is not 80% or greater. This rate is based solely upon the number of students who pass the test the first time around but does not include the students who pass on their second attempt. HB 2885 would allow the pass rate calculation to include students who pass their licensing examination on the second or third attempt and limits the time a student has to pass to 60 days.

"Giving students who successfully complete a nursing or educational program more than one chance to pass their licensing exam will not only encourage them" said Rep. Martinez, "it will also keep more nursing and educational programs open to educate future professionals."

contact: Scott Jenkines 512.463.0530