Tribpedia: Federal Health Reform And Texas

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law on March 21, 2010, the reaction from Texas leaders of all political persuasions was swift, varied and impassioned — no surprise, given the sweeping scope of the new law.

One thing all sides could agree on: The implications ...

TribYear: Top Texas News of 2011

In the spirit of TribWeek and TribMonth, we present TribYear: 10 of our best stories of 2011 — from the budget-whacking legislative session to emergency room mistakes, education accountability and a Williamson County man exonerated after spending nearly 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for his wife's murder.

Perry Ad Hits Newt, Mitt on Health Care Mandate

Gov. Rick Perry is attacking his Republican opponents in a TV ad for the first time in the presidential race, going after the top two front-runners in an increasingly aggressive effort to get his campaign back on track.

The ad names both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and focuses on their previous statements and actions in support of health insurance mandates.

Requiring people to get insurance is the most controversial piece of the sweeping health care legislation that Republicans call Obamacare.

“Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and President Obama all support government health care mandates," Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said in a written statement. “Gov. Perry opposes government-mandated health coverage and is firmly committed to repealing the job-killing Obamacare to protect families and job creators from the burden it imposes on them.”

While Perry has not been shy about attacking Romney in debates and media interviews, the governor has taken it easy on Gingrich — who had written a foreword to Perry's Washington-bashing book, Fed Up! In one recent debate, Gingrich suggested the relationship was still warm, calling Perry a “mentor” on 10th Amendment issues.

The fuzzy feelings appear to have lasted only as long as Gingrich was not seen as a serious contender for the White House. Now it is Perry who is on the ropes, and he has a huge bank account to finance a blitz of TV ads.

In the latest ad, Gingrich — who has opened up a big lead in the GOP race — is the first in the crosshairs.

“We don’t want government-mandated health care,” says an ominous-sounding voice as the ad opens. “Yet Newt Gingrich supports it.” The ad shows a photo of Gingrich with a banner that reads, “Supporter of health care mandates.”

“And Mitt Romney?” the ad continues. “He put it into law in Massachusetts.”

Romney has said he still believes his approach was right for Massachusetts but favors allowing states to adopt their own reforms. Gingrich has said he made a mistake by supporting government-mandated health insurance.

Tackling Texas' Teen Pregnancy Crisis

Health educators and advocates gathered at the Capitol yesterday to talk about what they call the problem of teen pregnancy in Texas. The state has the third highest teen birth rate in the nation, and the second highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy. As KUT’s Matt Largey reports, it’s also an expensive problem for taxpayers.

Soapbox: No Better Care, Thanks to Tort Reform

Texas Weekly

The sweeping medical lawsuit reforms of 2003 had two demonstrable effects: Doctors, hospitals and malpractice insurers got richer; and many contingent fee lawyers were put out of business. Which was exactly what proponents of the reforms wanted.

Soapbox: Better Care, Thanks to Tort Reform

Texas Weekly

Since the passage of sweeping medical lawsuit reforms in 2003, liability insurance rates have plummeted, doctors have flocked to our state in record numbers and nursing homes and hospitals are again operational. That's good for patients — and good for Texas.

Pharmacies Feeling Pressure of Reduced Medicaid Fees

A plan set to take effect in March will reduce fees paid to pharmacies. It's expected to save the state $100 million over the next two years. But some independent pharmacies say the plan may force them to lay off workers and cut services like free delivery to homebound patients.


TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/3/11

Murphy, Ramshaw and Root on Rick Perry and race, Philpott on Perry's vague economic plans, Tan and Wiseman on Barack Obama's foray into Texas to defend his jobs plan, Aguilar on Perry's proposal to send U.S. troops to Mexico, Ramshaw on efforts to leash rising health care costs, M. Smith on upcoming legal challenges to the state's school finance system, Aaronson interactively explores Medicare spending proposals, Galbraith on efforts to pass — and to oppose — a $6 billion water program, Grissom on the release of a man wrongly convicted of murder and Hamilton on efforts to let the public write some legislation: The best of our best content from October 3 to 7, 2011.

Video: Living Without Health Insurance in Texas

Shantell Keller of Georgetown is one of nearly 6.2 million Texans navigating through tough times without health insurance. For years, she and her husband have left their health problems untreated. Last month, she started going to Lone Star Circle of Care, a federally qualified health center that serves underinsured and underserved patients. Keller and her husband pay their fees on a sliding scale. For the first time, they can receive primary care, a first step toward becoming healthier and more productive.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/22/11

Tan on coming prison school cuts and online sales taxes, Root on Rick Perry's support for tax increases when he was a lawmaker, Ramshaw and Serafini on what "Perrycare" would entail, yours truly on the differences between Perry and George W. Bush, Philpott on the passions of the Paulites, Murphy and Seger unveil the Trib's Texas Public Schools Database, Hamilton on UT's answer to calls for improvements in higher ed, Galbraith on predictions that the record heat in Texas will be a long-term problem and Aguilar on the legal shootout over gun sales in Texas: The best of our best content from Aug. 22 to 26, 2011.

How Would President Perry Reform Health Care?

Gov. Rick Perry routinely attacks federal health care reform, but in the presidential contender’s early days on the campaign trail he has revealed little about what his own “Perrycare” could look like — or how much changing American health care will figure into his candidacy. Late Wednesday, the campaign provided the first hints.