Fight Back After Lege Ignored Uninsured Kids, Uninsured Moms & Other Uninsured Workers
Texas lawmakers wrap up the 2019 legislative session today, and as the Austin American-Statesman wrote this weekend, "They repeatedly dropped the ball on making health care more accessible to Texans in need."
Now, as you'll see below, Texans are launching a new campaign to fight back.
It is true that with your help this session, we did push the health coverage debate forward. For the first time in years, the Legislature held a hearing on Medicaid expansion. We got the Texas House (but NOT the Senate) to pass a bill extending health coverage for new moms and an amendment protecting children's health coverage. And lawmakers passed important legislation on surprise medical bills, partial reforms to Medicaid managed care, and a few other health issues.
But state leaders failed to address the fact that Texas has the nation's worst uninsured rate for kids, the nation's worst uninsured rate for women of childbearing age — with often devastating consequences for moms and babies — and the nation's worst uninsured rate for adults.
Texas doesn't need to be the worst in these rankings. But state leaders decided not to help uninsured kids, uninsured moms, and other uninsured workers this session.
The Texas Senate failed to take up the maternal health coverage bill that represented the first recommendation made by the state's Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. The Senate did not even refer the bill to a Committee after it passed the House. Not only that, but 43 House members voted AGAINST the maternal health bill. (Watch a video of the House debate here.)
The Texas Senate also decided to keep in place the mounds of red tape that knock eligible kids off of their Medicaid health insurance. After Reps. Philip Cortez and James Frank worked together across the aisle in the House to pass portions of the Children's Health Coverage bill as an amendment to SB 1105, the bill's Senate author decided to let the amendment and the rest of the bill die.
Additionally, Texas leaders once again refused to accept Medicaid expansion funding to cover uninsured child care teachers, janitors, and other low-wage workers. The Texas House voted down an amendment to implement Medicaid expansion while the Texas Senate didn't even discuss the issue. (Watch a video of the House debate here.)
In fact, if we're being totally honest, most state officials refused to even acknowledge that we have a health coverage problem in Texas.
So if we're going to make more progress next session, we need to start organizing in our communities NOW to let our state leaders know that they let us down and that we expect them to start working to expand health coverage.
That's why several organizations in the Cover Texas Now coalition are launching the Healthcare Activist Leadership Network.
Take a look and sign up today:
Thank you for all your work during the legislative session. Let's keep up the fight — and take it to the next level!