Political efforts of Texas “medical” lobby protects profits over patients

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) PAC and the Texas Hospital Association (THA) PAC are political arms of the leaders of the Texas medical lobby, who are marred by prioritizing policies that protect profits rather than patients.  TMA and THA routinely oppose any legislation that increases protections for the rights of patients in their care, such as Senate Bill 11 passed during the First Called Special Session of the 85th Legislature. SB11 reformed the process by which Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) are issued for hospitalized patients, protecting them from unauthorized DNRs written by physicians or providers without the patient’s knowledge or permission.  

TMA’s Robert Fine and THA’s Missy Atwood both testified publicly against SB 11.  Atwood’s testimony (starting here at 2:32) clearly demonstrates her belief that when a patient’s own expressed wishes about a life-or-death situation conflict with the doctors own personal beliefs, the physician should have unilateral authority to make that decision for the patient.  This unethical position not only violates the patient’s Right to Life, but ignores common sense solutions to accommodate conscientious objections while allowing patients to access desired life-sustaining treatment and procedures.

Dr. Arlo Weltge, speaking for TMA, took a neutral position on the bill (starting at 3:16).  However, his tone echoed the tone of the THA lobbyists, and after the hearing, the TMA worked against the bill and the governor’s agenda.  

TMA and THA’s PACs also have amassed an incriminating record of supporting anti-Life candidates.  Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), an outgoing state representative, whose record on Life was mixed, at best, waged a 2018 Primary Election challenge to Pro-Life champion Senator Bob Hall for Senate District 2 and received $41,000 from the TMA’s PAC and $8,000 from HOSPAC, run by THA, during her failed bid.  Anti-Life J. D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) similarly benefited from the medical lobby’s support, receiving $62,000 from TMA, more than any other candidate or incumbent, and $4,000 from HOSPAC.  

The list of anti-Life legislators supported by these groups is lengthy, but the most reprehensible is their support of pro-abortion “Republican” Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), who has received the endorsement and almost $20,000 from Planned Parenthood since 2014.  During the 2018 Republican Primary, she received $13,000 and $5,000 from TMA and HOSPAC, respectively.  The other highest-grossing legislators in terms of political contributions from the medical lobby include convicted felon and former State Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) and liberal former legislator Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), running once again for his old seat in House District 116.

TMA and HOSPAC typify the Austin political establishment.  On the surface, they look like they could be aligned with conservative values.  Texans will hear these organizations claim concern for patient care and talk about protecting Life and doctors’ freedom of conscience, but their political actions speak louder than any words could.

The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association, and the candidates their PACs support have repeatedly demonstrated hostility toward vulnerable patients and the unborn.  TMA and THA’s primary loyalty is to liberal leadership in the Texas House and to the bottom lines of hospitals. Rather than protect Texas patients, their rights, and their families, TMA and THA seek to retain control over Life and death decisions for patients in their care, rather than empowering patients and their families to follow their own directives.  Texans must not be duped by the deceptive rhetoric by the medical lobby regarding crucial issues of Life and death.