An interesting read over at the Texas Tribune today, focusing on the program the state put together in 2003 to help fund more trauma centers throughout Texas. The Driver Responsibility Program created state revenue by charging additional fees for things like speeding, driving without insurance, and driving drunk. If a driver doesn’t pay or enter a payment plan within 30 days, their license is suspended.
The extra money has gone toward bolstering the emergency trauma care system, which has gone from 248 trauma centers in 2006 to 280 this year, allowing better access across the state. A representative from the University Health System in San Antonio drops into the story to say that state funding is particularly key for smaller, rural hospitals.
These are the kinds of fees that disproportionately impact the poor, however, and the Trib talked to legislators who say they’re not in favor of the program. Hospital advocates, meanwhile, are big on keeping the funding in place one way or another:
Hospital advocates like Kirkman say that if there is a need to look at the unintended consequences of the Driver Responsibility Program, they are open to reform. But that can’t happen, they say, without finding another way to pay for the state’s trauma center network.