THE LITTLE DOG REPORT

Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson Gives Her "Little Dog" Report From The State Capitol

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Good Help for Health Benefits

Hemophilia has been a health issue that I have had particular interest in this session. Hemophilia is a chronic bleeding disorder that currently has no cure. But, with all the medical advancements that we have made, hemophiliac have been able to live long and health lives. These medicines though, come at a very high price. The cost annually can be anywhere from $150.000 to $450.000.

The number of Texans affected by hemophilia is a very small percentage of the population. I authored House Bill 1600 that was a study on the lifetime benefits for hemophilia-related services, supplies, pharmaceuticals, and biologics. Representative Coleman authored House Bill 1437 which actually increased the lifetime benefits for all acute or chronic diseases. Unable to bring either of our bills to the floor for debate I felt that this issue was important, and affected so few people in our state, there was a strong need to search for a possible vehicle to amend either HB 1600 or HB 1437 to.

I worked with Coleman as well as Representative Smithee to a amend Senate Bill 23. With some reasoning I as able to persuade Representative Smithee to agree to the language of Representative Coleman's bill as an amendment. I explained that there were so few people in our state affected by these acute and chronic diseases like hemophilia and how great the cost of caring for these illnesses can strain, not only the person affected, but the family.

I was also able to work with Representative Olivera in amending the language of HB 1438 to SB 23. This amendment would provide health benefit plan coverage for men between the ages of 45 and 75 and women between 55 and 75 who are diabetic or are at intermediate or higher risk of a heart attack according to their Framingham Risk Score. The coverage provides for either computed tomography (CT) scanning or ultrasonography and covers up to $200 per test. This amendment is a way to help people detect early on if they are at high risk for cardiovascular diseases.

I am pleased that we were able to work together and successfully amend SB 23 to help out those who are afflicted with these diseases and their families.

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