The health care track at the Texas Tribune Festival featured panel discussions on the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, new developments coming out of Texas, and abortion and women's health. If you prefer to listen on the go, you can also download this track in podcast format from iTunes, by clicking here.
The first session of the day, "Implementing the Affordable Care Act," included Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek; state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston; Marjorie McColl Petty, the regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond. The panelists, led by moderator and Tribune reporter Becca Aaronson, discuss how the Affordable Care Act will work in Texas, why the state isn't expanding Medicaid and what it will all mean for the uninsured in the state.
The second session, "The Fight of Over Medicaid," featured John Davidson, health policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation; Tom Banning, chief executive officer at the Texas Association of Family Physicians; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; and state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston. With Aaronson moderating, the panel discussed the debate over expanding and reforming Medicaid, the broken state of health care in Texas and the cost of caring for the uninsured.
Tribune Editor Emily Ramshaw led the third session of the day, "The Most Exciting Developments Coming Out of Texas," with Dorit Donoviel, deputy chief scientist at the National Space Biomedical Institute; George Georgiou, Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering and professor of genetics and biology at the University of Texas at Austin; Eva Sevick, director of the Center for Molecular Imaging at the UT Health Sciences Center; and Jiajie Zhang, dean of the school of biomedical informatics at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. The panel talked about projects including monitoring brain pressure, developing cancer treatments and saving money through the use of electronic medical records.
The final health care session of the day was, perhaps predictably, the most dynamic. Led by Ramshaw, the panel discussion, "Abortion and Women's Health: Now What?" featured state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place; state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston; and state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville. The lawmakers talked about how the abortion debate evolved during the legislative session, the controversy over increasing regulations for abortion facilities and whether the issue might have awakened a "sleeping giant" that could help state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, become the next Texas governor.