Texas lawmakers take on rising health care costs with HB 711

New legislation could help lower health care costs by giving consumers more control.

The Texas House Select-Health Care Reform committee had HB 711 on its agenda, which was filed by state Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls). 

Frank drafted the bill in an effort to open up the health care marketplace by eliminating anti-competitive clauses in health insurance contracts.

"You know, one of the things I say, we are in our country. We are paying twice as much for health care, for the same results as the rest of the first world. And it is because of a lack of transparency, lack of competition and lack of patient involvement. We've got to have all three," said Frank.

HB 711 targets things like the "all or nothing rule" and a process called "steering" which can send a patient to a higher cost hospital and not to the one they want, which may be a better deal. 

The legislation would also eliminate "anti-tiering" clauses that prevent insurance carriers from putting providers into categories, for consumers to see, based on outcomes and pricing. 


Rep. Frank told FOX 7 his bill would also require more pricing information to be available to the public.

"You need to know what the prices are, but you also need to have competition. And there's a lot of unleveling playing field and a lot of anti-competitive practices that are happening in health care. And so I think it's pretty important to address those," said Frank.

HB 711 was left pending in committee. A vote to move the bill to the house floor for debate could come next week.