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ccppi 
center for civic & public policy improvement
Weekly Brief, May 25, 2021
Focus: Healthcare

Medicaid expansion won't pass this session...

Medicaid expansion did not move this legislative session despite over 5 million Texans living without access to healthcare70% of Texans supporting greater health coverage, along with bi-partisan support in the legislature for coverage expansion and the loss of billions of federal dollars.  

The lack of action to pass Medicaid expansion (or any significant healthcare coverage bill) by political leaders in the Texas legislature, even with the efforts of many champions in the House and Senate, is a dangerous failure that will continue to impact the lives and health outcomes of low-income Texans and Texans of color.

CCPPI will continue to work with local and state partners before the 2023 session to hold our representatives accountable for expanding healthcare coverage for all Texans.

Meanwhile, the future of the Texas Medicaid 1115 Waiver still “remains uncertain" creating an even more urgent situation. Last month, the Biden administration rescinded the Trump administration’s approval of the 10-year extension of the Texas Medicaid 1115 Waiver program. The Biden administration stated that the waiver approval did not go through the “full federal rulemaking process.” The 1115 Waiver program under the Trump administration imposed work and reporting requirements and eligibility, enrollment, and benefit restrictions, changes that undermine the Medicaid program’s mission of expanding and promoting healthcare access.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration. Now, the Texas Office of Health and Human Services is asking the federal government to approve the same waiver that the administration just rescinded last month.

Multiple hearings for public comment are being held in June, including a virtual opportunity on June 10, 2021.

Expanding Healthcare Access for Texans..

CCPPI partnered with the #SickofItTX campaign & the Children’s Defense Fund - TX on a county-level data project to advocate for Medicaid expansion this legislative session and beyond

We created downloadable infographics for 80 different Texas counties to be used in policy advocacy efforts by health advocates and activists in key geographic areas across the state. Below you can see the infographic for Harris County. 

You can find a link to the entire project (each downloadable infographic) here
The Houston-area regional data can be found here
All regional data can be found here.




Studies on the Effects of Medicaid expansion 

There are only twelve states in the U.S that have not expanded Medicaid. Eight of them are in the South, including Texas, which is the least insured state in the country. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a literature review that summarizes findings from 197 studies on the impact of states’ Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act from February 2020 through March 2021. They found positive effects of coverage expansion across a range of categories; see table below.

More Healthcare Legislative Updates...
There is only one week left for the #txlege to pass these critical bills!

Support Texas Children & Keep Kids on Medicaid.
Pass HB 290! 

On April 15, 2021, the Texas House passed HB 290 by Representative Philip Cortez. HB 290 protects eligible children from being pushed off of their Medicaid coverage. When this happens, children lose access to “doctor visits, critical therapies, vision support like glasses, and even the prescription inhalers that help them breathe.” On May 19, 2021, after much advocacy from groups across the state, HB 290 finally arrived in the Senate Committee. HB 290 has now moved out of the Senate Committee and is awaiting a vote in the Texas Senate.

Call to Action:

Click here to urge the Governor, Lt. Governor, and your Senator to quickly refer HB 290 to hold a hearing, and say YES to this important bill.     

 

Coverage Expansion for TX Moms & 6 months of postpartum coverage isn't enough. Pass HB 133!

On April 15, 2021, the Texas House passed HB 133 by Representative Toni Rose. HB 133 provides Texas mothers with Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum. Currently, Texas is one of the only states that does not provide low-income women with anything beyond the required 60 days of postpartum coverage. On May 19, 2021, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services heard testimony on this critical bill, and on May 24, 2021, the Senate proposed a version of the bill that cut the coverage from 12 months postpartum to six. This lack of care puts millions of Texas women in danger each year as expanding coverage will help to reduce high maternal and infant mortality rates for Black women and babies. Rep. Rose stated she did not plan to immediately accept the Senate's proposal and wants the full year of coverage restored.  

Call to Action:

Click here to urge your Senator to vote YES on HB 133, the Maternal Health Coverage Bill - let’s get Texas moms the coverage that they need



Texas needs an Office for Health Equity. Pass HB 4139!

On May 5, 2021, the Texas House passed HB 4139 by CCPPI founder, Representative Garnet Coleman. The bill reinstates a dedicated Office for Health Equity. In a piece last month, we examined both the past and current need for this state office: Racism is a Public Health Crisis: Texas Needs an Office of Health Equity to Address Racial Health Disparities. A sustainable, well-funded office dedicated to addressing racial health disparities is a critical need made even more urgent by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across communities of color in Texas. HB 4139 is awaiting passage by the Texas Senate

Read a powerful op-ed urging the Senate to pass HB 4139: Pandemic Hit Black and Latino communities hardest. Texas must address the root causes.

Call to Action:

 Click here to call & email your representative & encourage them to pass HB 4139 (script provided). Texas needs a dedicated Office for Health Equity! 

Reproductive Justice is Racial Justice...

On May 19, 2021, Governor Abbott signed one of the country’s most extreme abortion measures into law. SB 8, also known as a “heartbeat bill,” bans abortion after the sixth week, which is before many women even know they are pregnant. The law is set to take effect on September 1, 2021. For women living in poverty who may be unable to afford to leave Texas to receive care, or for those who learn they are pregnant post the six-week limit, this law creates a situation in which desperate women may seek unsafe abortions

Reproductive justice, rights, and access is a racial justice issue. Attacks on abortion and other reproductive rights have a long history rooted in white supremacy and America’s legacy of slavery. According to our partners at The Afiya Center in Dallas, Texas, "Just like slavery, anti-abortion efforts are rooted in white supremacy, the exploitation of Black women, and placing women’s bodies in service to men. Just like slavery, maximizing wealth and consolidating power motivated the anti-abortion enterprise."  To learn more about the racist history of abortion access, click here.

Don't Blame 'Hesitancy' -- Blame Lack of Access to COVID-19 Vaccines...

Although the narrative that Black Americans (and other people of color) are “vaccine hesitant” has been pushed by the media, celebrities, and many in the healthcare community, recent data has shown that is not actually the case. In fact, according to recent estimates from the U.S Census Bureau, white Americans are much more likely to express vaccine hesitancy. However, across the country, Black and Latinx adults are less likely to be vaccinated than white adults.

Experts say access is the problem, not ‘hesitancy’ or intent to get vaccinated. In a national survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black and Latinx people reported that “lack of access to convenient vaccines, transportation to vaccine sites, lack of childcare and fear of missing work” were the reasons they had not yet been vaccinated.

Although there is valid mistrust from communities of color towards medical providers and the healthcare system overall, a focus on vaccine hesitancy blames the victim and obscures the structural reasons behind the lack of access to vaccines in Black and Latinx communities across the country

CCPPI is glad to join the organizations working with Houston in Action in their efforts to continue and expand the community-based efforts to make vaccine distribution equitable and increase access for people of color, low-income communities, and women. 

New CDC Guidance around Masks...

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lifted the federal mask mandate for all vaccinated Americans. The United States’ largest nurses union condemned the CDC’s new guidance. They call out the unjust nature of the sudden lifting of the mask mandate and the impact it will disproportionately have on Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities especially given the inequities in vaccine rollouts and access as we discussed above. 

In Texas, on May 18, 2021, Governor Abbott banned mask mandates in Texas public schools, cities, and counties and has forbidden local governments and public school districts from instituting their own mask mandates, punishable by fines. Faculty at multiple Texas colleges are urging Abbott to reconsider.

Texans Say Healthcare is the Toughest Living Expense to Afford...

A new Texas health poll conducted by the Episcopal Health Foundation found that nearly half of all Texans say it's difficult for them to pay for health care. Researchers found that for Texans that lack insurance, 79% say it's difficult for their families to afford care. The statewide survey also finds that “a majority of immigrants (82%), Hispanic residents (67%), and Black residents (57%) say it’s difficult for them to afford health care, compared to 37% of White residents who said the same.”

Affordable Housing Progress...

St. Charles Place Apartments Now Preleasing 

The St. Charles Place Apartments is located at 3131 St. Charles Street at Elgin. They consist of 20 residential units including 2 studios, 2 one bedroom units designed for individuals who are mobility impaired, and 16 one bedroom units. 
Rents range from $600 to $975. Proof of income is required as there are maximum income restrictions for all households.
For more information please contact Stress Free Property Solutions at
713-264-8240.  

Completion of the One Emancipation Center (Affordable Housing Operations Center) has an anticipated completion of May 2021. It is located at 3131 Emancipation Ave., Houston, TX 77004.
This five-story building will house CCPPI and other agencies dedicated to affordable housing development, advocacy, and economic growth of the community. Those interested in lease information, renderings, and marketing materials, please contact our commercial realtor partners Ed Ryland, ARVO or Chip Horne, Cushman & Wakefield. 

Check out our Social Media pages below for updates on CCPPI’s work, local advocacy efforts, and news stories on the topics of housing, healthcare, education, and criminal justice and safety. 

The Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing policies that promote human, civic, social, and economic justice, and to taking the necessary action to affect progress in all areas of civic improvement throughout the culturally diverse communities
in the Southern United States.

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