07/12/17

Texas Medical Association: Liberal Republican

Tribe: Liberal Republican

Texas Medical Association (TMA) advocates on behalf of thousands of doctors and physicians across the state of Texas. Specifically, their PAC works to elect legislators who will work with the medical community to increase the level of state spending on medical services and programs, as well as pass legislation capitalizing on federal programs to secure more dollars coming to Texas from Washington, D.C.

Practically speaking, TMA has strongly advocated for the expansion of Medicaid in Texas, has promoted occupational licensing legislation, opposed medical pricing transparency, and opposed legislation aimed at increasing access to tele-medicine. Their political giving centers on supporting either physicians running for public office or Liberal Republicans in House Leadership. Their strategy is to solidify support of doctors serving in the legislature while having a strong relationship with the Liberal Republican tribe who will do their bidding on issues many Republican primary voters oppose.

A quick look at the top ten recipients of TMA dollars in the Texas House shows a clear bent toward supporting the Liberal Republican tribe.

Top Ten Texas House Recipients – 2016 Cycle
Ralph Sheffield $55,500
Scott Cosper $40,250
Joe Straus $30,000
Tom Oliverson $27,250
Jason Villalba $21,000
Sarah Davis $20,000
Lynn Stucky $19,250
Cindy Burkett $15,500
John Frullo $12,000
DeWayne Burns $11,000
Total $251,750

***Shown are the top ten supported  candidates who won the office they sought, as they have votes to examine from the 85th Legislative Session.

 

Pro-TMA Spin:

TMA’s supporters believe Texas medical professionals need advocates who will work to ensure their concerns are heard in Austin. With a medical industry that has exploded in growth over the past decade, the financial needs of the industry are great. Also, legislation passed in Texas often serves as a benchmark for what happens in other states. TMA’s strategy of aligning itself with the Liberal Republican tribe of the Texas House is a means to an end — as many of the policies TMA advocates for aren’t viewed favorably by Republican primary voters. Working within the existing system of a Republican-controlled legislature, TMA supporters would argue the group gets more done than otherwise possible were their strategy or alliances different.

 

Anti-TMA Spin:

Critics of TMA would argue that their policy positions and the candidates they support are far more liberal than the medical community as a whole. TMA’s alliance with – and almost exclusive financial support for – Liberal Republicans represents a deviation from what most medical professionals likely intend to support when they join TMA. TMA’s efforts to expand Medicaid, reduce access to tele-medicine, and forbid transparency in medical services pricing, not only puts the well-being of Texans at risk, but also hurts the long-term prospects for medical industry and its professionals.

 

The Bottom Line:

TMA’s nearly exclusive support of Liberal Republican legislators clearly reveals their political tribe. TMA’s fundamental goal, to increase spending on health care so their industry has access to more revenue streams, is not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone agrees doctors and medical professionals should get paid for providing services. TMA’s insistence that this spending come from government instead of the private sector causes strife with the Conservative Tribe and results in TMA’s loyalty to Liberal Republicans.

If voters see a large contribution to their candidate/politician from Texas Medical Association, they can likely assume that person is either a medical professional or a Liberal Republican who’s willing to do TMA’s bidding in Austin.

 

Up Next:

Texas Association of Realtors PACs: Liberal Republican Tribe

 

An Easy Guide to the Big Money PACs in Texas Politics – In this Series:

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