Trauma care dollars in jeopardy.
It's called the Texas Driver Responsibility Program, and was started as a way to generate revenue for trauma care. State Rep. Sylvester Turner helped implement it ten years ago, but now wants it repealed claiming it isn't working.
Turner says people would rather drive without a valid license than pay the extra costs.
“There are now 1.3 million people driving in the state of Texas with a suspended driver's license because they can't pay the surcharges,” the Houston Democrat tells KTRH News. “And we're only collecting four cents on the dollar.”
However, John Hawkins at the Texas Hospital Association says not so fast!
“Hospitals are reporting over $200 million a year in uncompensated trauma care, and we're only being appropriated about $57 million right now,” says Hawkins. “We took pretty significant payment cuts last session, now you add elimination of the trauma fund on top of that.”
Turner argues there is an answer to make up that gap, but it's up to Republican lawmakers to get it done.
“We have $380 million just sitting in a general revenue dedicated account for trauma hospitals, but the Legislature has chosen to use those dollars for general appropriation purposes,” he says.
Turner says he'll push to release those funds in order to make up the difference for trauma care.
Hear the podcast with Matt Patrick and Houston's Morning News as he talks with Hawkins: