The 84th legislative session ended on June 1, 2015. See the bills that have become law.

Addressing a physician shortage

Curated by Alexa Ura and Edgar Walters

Texas lawmakers invested millions of additional dollars in the 2013 legislative session to address a looming physician shortage, and this session was no different.

Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 18, which creates more residency slots for medical students to alleviate the state’s physician shortage. It also instructs the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board to incentivize teaching hospitals to create residency programs and increase funding for programs for primary care doctors in rural areas.

The measure creates a $300 million endowment to pay for the programs in future years.

But legislative budget writers did not boost payments to primary care doctors who see patients on Medicaid, the joint federal-state insurer of last resort for the poor and disabled. In Texas, physician groups say Medicaid pays significantly below the cost of treating patients, making it unappealing for doctors to treat people in the program — and serving as a disincentive to go into the field. 

Updated: May 28, 2015

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The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.