(AUSTIN) — Today, Speaker Dade Phelan held a press conference with a coalition of Democratic and Republican Representatives to lay out the Texas House’s health care priorities for this session.
Several pieces of Democratic legislation made up the foundation for the Speaker’s plan, dubbed “Healthy Families, Healthy Texas.” From increasing coverage for children and mothers, to investing in medical research to increasing health equity, many of the life-saving proposals heard today are the result of years of hard work and advocacy by House Democrats.
Rep. Philip Cortez spoke on his HB 290, which makes it easier for eligible children to stay Medicaid for a full year, instead of losing coverage after six months.
“Texas has the highest number and percentage of uninsured children in the country. We can and should do better,” Rep. Cortez said. “We owe this to our children, who are the future of Texas.”
Rep. Donna Howard highlighted her HB 797, which already passed the House unanimously and would expand access to vaccines for those that need it the most.
“We had unanimous support of the House on this bill,” Rep. Howard said. “We need to get vaccines in the arms of vulnerable Texans and this is one of the ways we’re going to do that.”
Rep. Senfronia Thompson spoke on HB 15, her legislation that would increase state investment in brain health research.
“Imagine being able to find cures, protocols, medications and many other things for [brain injuries and disorders],” Rep. Thompson said. “The investment we’ll make is going to be a benefit for our generation, but also for generations to come.”
Vice Chair of the HDC, Rep. Toni Rose, highlighted HB 133, her legislation that addresses Texas’ high maternal mortality rate by extending Medicaid eligibility for new mothers from 60 days to a full year.
“This issue knows no political or geographic boundaries,” Rep. Rose said. “Increasing access to comprehensive health services for 12 months after pregnancy will facilitate the continuity of care and stop the deaths of women.”
Rep. Garnet Coleman addressed his HB 4139, which establishes the Office of Health Equity to study, address and ultimately eliminate health disparities in Texas.
“The office will work to reduce for all Texans the differences between health status, no matter who you are [or] where you are,” Rep. Coleman said.