Compassionate conservatism strikes again

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans at 2:33 pm by wcnews

Budget cuts may hinder Texas’ regulatory agencies, could cost consumers millions.

State agencies expect to investigate fewer consumer complaints of wrongdoing by insurance companies, veterinarians and utility companies, as a result of budget cuts proposed to comply with an order from Gov. Rick Perry and other legislative leaders.

Fewer elevator systems, funeral homes, beauty shops and tow truck companies would be scrutinized to make sure they’re providing safe, quality services if the cuts go through as expected.

And consumers would likely lose out on millions of dollars that they would have otherwise pocketed. The Texas Department of Insurance alone estimates that policyholders would sacrifice up to $3 million that would otherwise have been recovered from resolving hundreds of complaints.

Now to be fair, it’s not just Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Speaker Straus were in on this too.

Every day, you get on an elevator; you get your hair cut; you get your nails done,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a consumer advocacy group in Austin. “If these agencies are having to curtail the number of inspections they do, they’re going to be less likely to be able to find problems.


Some proposed cuts have been described as “dramatic” and “severe.”
The Texas Medical Board, for example, reported that the 5 percent cut will leave it without enough resources to monitor alcohol- and drug-impaired physicians and other medical professionals.
It also says that its backlog of quality-of-care cases will grow by several hundred if money for expert physician consultants is reduced. The agency already has a backlog of 500 cases. That means hundreds of complaints of bad medicine won’t be addressed, because the physician consultants cannot review cases and give guidance on whether a quality-of-care standard was violated.
“Virtually all of the TMB’s key enforcement performance measures will be negatively impacted if reviews by expert panelists have to be put on hold,” the medical board said in its report filed with the Legislative Budget Board. Without such reviews, standard of care cases, which make up 70 to 75 percent of investigations, cannot be resolved. So none of those cases would be dismissed or would result in a disciplinary action.

That compassionate conservatism just keeps on giving, doesn’t it?

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