TX Lege killing off health care bills?
When the Texas legislative session started in January, it quickly became apparent that — once again — state leaders were completely ignoring the fact that Texas has the nation's worst uninsured rate for children and for adults.
Nonetheless, several legislators filed bills that gave us hope that some incremental progress was possible this session on maternal health, children's health coverage, and Medicaid managed care reform.
Your hard work over the last several days and weeks kept these bills alive and helped educate lawmakers about the need to address these critical health care issues.
But as of today, it appears that state leaders may have quietly killed off most of the health care bills that held some promise for this session.
Please call your legislators and state leaders today! Tell them you expect them to find a way to improve our health care this legislative session, even if they have to rely on amending bills to other legislation, and that you will hold them accountable if they fail to deliver.
This is where the situation stands at the Legislature as of today:
Barring an unexpected development or creative leadership by lawmakers, such as as an amendment to another bill, it appears that state leaders just killed off the Children's Health Coverage Bill (HB 342); legislation to allow new moms to continue their health coverage for 12 months after giving birth rather than kicking them off Medicaid two months after delivery (HB 1110); and two key bills to improve the state's approach to Medicaid managed care (HB 2453 and HB 4178).
By failing to take action before today to schedule those bills for a vote of the full House, the House Calendars Committee has virtually ensured that they will not come up for a vote before Thursday night's deadline to pass House bills (even if the Committee includes them in the last-minute voting calendars they release early this week). Meanwhile, the Senate has failed to move similar bills. And bills to accept Medicaid expansion funding to cover uninsured low-wage workers never moved out of Committee in the House or even had a hearing in the Senate.
There are still a few modest but important health care bills that are still moving through legislative process, such as legislation to address surprise medical bills, the bill to ensure more moms have transportation to prenatal care and postpartum appointments, and a handful of other bills on Medicaid managed care and maternal health.
Members of Cover Texas Now will continue working to pass those remaining bills over the final three weeks of the session, but we will also remember that state leaders appear to be showing us that they are uninterested in addressing many of the state's deep health care challenges, including our sky-high uninsured rate.
We will keep you updated about the final weeks of the legislative session — and what comes next.
Thank you for your support for health care!