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center for civic & public policy improvement
March 16, 2021
CCPPI Focus Area: Healthcare

Governor Abbott’s decision to lift the statewide mask order (and open Texas “one hundred percent”) took effect March 10, 2021. The news shocked and disturbed healthcare workers, public health experts, and many local health officials. Their message: Keep wearing your mask. Especially in public or around others who don’t live in the same household, and continue to wear a mask even if you have been vaccinated. Also continue to practice social distancing, wash hands frequently, avoid large gatherings, and stay separate from vulnerable family members. The Texas Tribune compiled a comprehensive look at what the loosened restrictions mean for Texans

Health experts maintain that there are not enough vaccinated Texans to make such drastic rollbacks. To achieve herd immunity, they estimate 75% to 90% of Texans must be inoculated.  As of March 15, only 11.6% of Texans have been fully vaccinated. Health officials are relying on the public to continue to follow the CDC guidelines, especially given the highly contagious nature of new variants. Houston is the first city in the country to record all major COVID strains and Harris County remains at an extremely high risk level.  

A study released in January 2021 in the Journal of Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities found that Black, Latinx, and Asian respondents were more likely to report wearing a mask in response to the coronavirus compared with white respondents. In analyzing gender differences, the authors found that white men were least likely to wear a mask from late April 2020 to early June 2020.

Vaccine Updates

Texas has expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to residents 50 years of age and up. Click here to read more.

If you live in Harris County, are eligible for the vaccine, and have not yet signed up, click here for more information. You can also track vaccine availability here

President Biden announced on March 11 that he will direct states to make all adults eligible for a vaccine starting May 1, 2021. 

TIME recently released a story from Dallas where local elected officials tried to make vaccine distribution more racially equitable and their efforts were beaten back by the state. Read the whole story here

Texans Can't Recover if Texas Isn't Covered. We need #MedEx4TX

There are only twelve states in the United States that have not expanded Medicaid. Eight of them are in the South, including Texas --Texas is the least insured state in the U.S. More than 5 million Texans live without access to health care, a majority of them people living in poverty and minoritized by race. If Texas expands Medicaid this legislative session, more than 2.2 million Texans will gain access to care, 74% of them people of color. Economic experts state that the infusion of billions of dollars into the Texas health care system each year will have downstream positive effects on the economy that has been decimated by the COVID-19 crisis. And, multiple studies, one conducted by Episcopal Health Foundation and one by the UH Hobby School of Public Affairs show a majority of Texans across the state support Medicaid expansion. 

CCPPI is a proud partner in the #SickofItTX Coalition where we work alongside other health advocacy agencies to fight for healthcare justice in our state. On March 5, 2021, along with our partners, CCPPI co-hosted a Virtual Advocacy Day for Medicaid Expansion (#MedEx4TX). More than 1000 people participated. Advocacy actions included a Tweetstorm with over 635 tweets, a Call-A-Thon with dozens of phone calls, a Letter Writing Campaign directed at Texas leaders, and a Virtual Rally. Rally speakers included policy makers who are champions for Medicaid expansion, frontline service providers, business owners, faith leaders, and Texans impacted by the uninsured crisis. 

You can take action now. Let our Texas leaders know that there has never been a more critical time to expand Medicaid. 

Regional Action for Healthcare Justice

CCPPI is also pleased to be a part of the Southerners for Medicaid Expansion Coalition, a coalition of organizations and individuals from the eight Southern states that have not expanded Medicaid. We are organizing together for the coalition's mission to unite to ensure affordable healthcare for our people and fight the legacy of slavery and racial injustice that has plagued our region.

You can take action now:
To sign the petition to join us and fight for the uninsured people of the South, click here
To read the letter we signed on to President Biden and our national leaders, click here.

A Lifeline...

On March 10, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan which was signed by President Biden on Friday, March 12, 2021. The $1.9 trillion stimulus provides support to the millions of Americans struggling with the devastation wrought by the coronavirus.   The bill authorizes stimulus payments of up to $1400, extends and adds to unemployment aid, and makes major changes to the tax code to benefit millions more low-income families with young children and   includes $300 monthly payments per child. The bill also includes millions in emergency rental assistance and services for unhoused populations, and an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.
The bill also provides Texas with billions more for Medicaid expansion, another reason we need #MedEx4TX this session.

Affordable Housing Progress...

Completion of the One Emancipation Center building is expected in March 2021. Those interested in lease information, renderings, and marketing materials, please contact our commercial realtor partners Ed Ryland, ARVO or Chip Horne, Cushman & Wakefield. We urge those that are interested in leasing space to contact the commercial realty team immediately.

If you are in need of resources due to impact from the severe winter storm, or are looking for ways to help, click here to view our past distribution for more information. 

You can also take action by urging Congress to support the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act and make disaster relief efforts equitable.

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.

Copyright © 2021 CCPPI, All rights reserved.

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