TCJC and Rep. Gonzalez have come up with the best pitch for abolishing the DRP I've heard yet: The Lege doesn't have to pay for it immediately. The state has long short-changed trauma care hospitals who're supposed to receive reimbursement from the fund for uncompensated care, diverting the money to "certify" in the budget in order to draw down unrelated federal funds. Reported TCJC, "budget writers have allowed the dedicated “Trauma Facility & Emergency Medical Services Account” to accumulate a balance of over $370 million in unappropriated funds to help balance the biennial budget – money that could be used to defray an even larger portion of the hospitals’costs."
The DRP at present covers only a portion of uncompensated care costs (which will be somewhat alleviated in states that expand Medicaid under Obamacare). "In 2012, Texas trauma hospitals incurred a total of $234 million in uncompensated care costs but received only $55 million in reimbursements from the state in the form of DRP surcharge revenue." TCJC recommends continuing payouts at current levels until the $370 million runs out, which would give the state until 2019 to figure out a more stable, alternative funding source. Good thinking. And best of luck to Rep. Gonzalez: Grits readers should call their state representative and ask them to join him in supporting HB 104.
MORE: From the Texas Tribune.
See prior, related Grits posts:
- Is 2013 the year legislators axe Orwellian-named Driver Responsibility surcharge?
- Did the Driver Responsibility Surcharge cause Texas' voter ID law to be rejected?
- Few defendants getting surcharges waived by judges based on indigence
- Grits to DPS: Enact incentive rules for Driver Responsibility surcharge now
- Amendment tells DPS: Implement incentive rules for Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Hospitals: Driver Responsibility surcharge an unreliable funding source
- What's the one thing John Whitmire and Leo Berman have in common?
- Declining DWI convictions and the unmitigated failure of the Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Federal suit filed to declare Driver Responsibility surcharge unconstitutional
- DPS Director: No public safety benefit from Driver Responsibility Surcharge
- Prosecutors altering charging decisions to avoid Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Driver surcharge boosting Texas joblessness
- Unexplored costs from DPS surcharge harm safety, the economy
- Driver Responsibility surcharge 'devastating' for court system
- Bill author says 'overly punitive' Driver Responsibility surcharge a 'mistake'