GOVERNMENT: Legislature

Abbott Courting Feds for Health Care Money, Emails Show

Greg Abbott, then the state's attorney general, discusses Texas' lawsuit against federal health care reform on Jan. 31, 2011.
Greg Abbott, then the state's attorney general, discusses Texas' lawsuit against federal health care reform on Jan. 31, 2011.

A newspaper editorial prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to have aides research the finances of a Houston health insurance plan to see if some hospitals caring for poor and uninsured Texans are "rolling in dough," emails obtained by The Texas Tribune show.  

Relaxed Food Stamp Rules Meant to Help Felons

Starting Sept. 1, a new Texas law will allow people with felony drug convictions to qualify for food assistance, ending the lifetime ban they currently face. Supporters hope the change will reduce recidivism as it helps felons get back on their feet. 

Budget Cuts Hit Film, Video Game Incentive Fund

Filmed in Texas, the television show Friday Night Lights received $6.7 million in state incentive funds.
Filmed in Texas, the television show Friday Night Lights received $6.7 million in state incentive funds.

State lawmakers inflicted deep cuts on the incentive program Texas uses to lure film, television and video game productions to the state. Now, industry advocates say Texas-based productions — like the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights — will be scarcer. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series

Law Could Bring Remote Doctor Visits to Schools

A new law will allow physicians to get paid for seeing children over a sophisticated form of video chat, as long as the patient is at school and enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program.
A new law will allow physicians to get paid for seeing children over a sophisticated form of video chat, as long as the patient is at school and enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program.

A new law will allow physicians to get paid for seeing children over a sophisticated form of video chat, as long as the patient is at school and enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program for the poor and disabled. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series.

In Wealthy ZIP Codes, Freestanding ERs Find A Home

When her daughter had a cold, Nancy Nicolas went to a freestanding emergency room that she believed to be an urgent care clinic. The checkup cost more than $500.
When her daughter had a cold, Nancy Nicolas went to a freestanding emergency room that she believed to be an urgent care clinic. The checkup cost more than $500.

Five years after Texas became the first state to permit freestanding emergency rooms, more than 160 have set up shop around the state — a presence that suburban commuters and health insurers alike are finding impossible to ignore.