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 of ...

Kathleen Sebelius: The TT Interview

In an exclusive on-camera interview with The Texas Tribune, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed the federal government's efforts to cooperate with a state like Texas, where GOP leaders have been hostile to the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius said Texas "has an enormous amount to gain" from the federal reforms. "We will work with [Gov. Perry] and with his team in whatever ways he chooses to work with us," she said.

Bill Aims to Expand Organ Registry, Save Lives

Lawmakers are hoping that nonprofit organizations can do a better job of recruiting organ donors and saving lives. HB2904 would transfer management of the Glenda Dawson Donate Life-Texas Registry from the Texas Department of State Health Services to a new collaboration of nonprofit organizations, a shift supporters say will reduce the number of Texans who die every year while waiting on the transplant list.

Lance Armstrong at a TribLive event on April 21, 2011.
Lance Armstrong at a TribLive event on April 21, 2011.

Audio: Lance Armstrong at TribLive

At Thursday's TribLive conversation, I interviewed Lance Armstrong about the need to protect cancer research funding in austere times and his advocacy on behalf of an indoor workplace smoking ban.

House Gives Early OK to Health Care Compact

House lawmakers have put their initial stamp of approval on a health care compact — a partnership with other states to ask the federal government for control over Medicaid and Medicare in Texas. But opponents say the proposal won't get much traction in Washington, where the Obama administration is unlikely to cede authority over the programs that provide health care for children, the disabled, the elderly and the very poor. 

Bo Scaife, former UT player and current Tennessee Titan tight end, testifies in House Public Health on April 20, 2011
Bo Scaife, former UT player and current Tennessee Titan tight end, testifies in House Public Health on April 20, 2011

NFL Players Testify for Muscle Therapy Licenses

 

Two University of Texas legends from the NFL appeared before lawmakers this morning to testify for a bill that would allow people certified in so-called "muscle activation technique," or MAT, to practice without a massage therapy license. 

 

 

Anti-Abortion Groups Disagree on End-of-Life Law

The state’s two leading anti-abortion groups — Texas Right to Life and Texas Alliance for Life — agree on where life begins, but not on how it may come to an end. Their disagreement on Texas' end-of-life care law marks a rare division for the two organizations, who have worked side by side on abortion sonogram legislation and cuts to family planning this session.

Natasha and Mark Rosen, of Austin, with baby Matthew, who was born 3 months premature, in Seton Medical Center Austin's neonatal intensive care unit. Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to curb prenatal births and the high costs they present for the state's Medicaid program.
Natasha and Mark Rosen, of Austin, with baby Matthew, who was born 3 months premature, in Seton Medical Center Austin's neonatal intensive care unit. Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to curb prenatal births and the high costs they present for the state's Medicaid program.

Hospitals, Advocates at Odds Over Preemie Bills

Lawmakers agree that curbing elective inductions of labor and so-called “convenience” Caesarian sections would prevent premature births and save the state money. But how best to do it has left child welfare advocates and hospitals at odds. Hospitals are backing legislation that would cut off Medicaid reimbursements for providers who induce labor before the 39th week of pregnancy without medical justification. But they’re opposing a bill that would require data on these procedures to be recorded.

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, speaks with Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, on the House floor during the budget debate.
Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, speaks with Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, on the House floor during the budget debate.

House Budget Shrinks Spending, Slashes Services

The Texas House started with a $164.5 billion budget and ended with the same total. But lawmakers spent the better part of a weekend making changes inside the budget for 2012-13 before giving it their approval, 98 to 49, late Sunday night. Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, called it a draft that will be changed over the next two months. House Speaker Joe Straus told members, "We need to move this bill."

Phil and Diann Green at home with their granddaughter Aria, who they've raised since infancy. The Greens, who are retiring and will soon switch from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare, have been unable to find a child-only health insurance policy for Aria. Insurers in Texas and many other states have stopped offering the policies in protest over federal health reform rules.
Phil and Diann Green at home with their granddaughter Aria, who they've raised since infancy. The Greens, who are retiring and will soon switch from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare, have been unable to find a child-only health insurance policy for Aria. Insurers in Texas and many other states have stopped offering the policies in protest over federal health reform rules.

Insurers Drop Child-Only Plans, Blame Health Reform

Insurers in Texas and across the nation — protesting a provision of the 2010 federal health care overhaul that prohibits pre-existing condition limitations for children under 19 — have simply stopped offering new child-only policies. For children being raised by their grandparents who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, there are few options.

Community home care advocates for children rally on the South steps of the Capitol against budget cuts
Community home care advocates for children rally on the South steps of the Capitol against budget cuts

Advocates Rally to Retain State Health Funds

Hundreds of people rallied at the Capitol today to urge lawmakers to maintain state spending on Medicaid and CHIP, the health care programs for children, the disabled and the very poor.