The Texas legislative session is in full swing! We are grateful to the Health Coverage champions in the Texas legislature who filed bills so that Texas’ kids, moms and dads, and frontline workers can access coverage and health care! In this blog we are highlighting some of the bills that we support and will be following during the session. Make sure to follow our social media @SickofitTX for updates and action alerts on these bills!
1. Medicaid Expansion Bills
We are tremendously excited that several legislators on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation to expand Medicaid! These expansion efforts could positively impact over 1.4 million Texans. Don’t know who would benefit from expansion? All Texans benefit when more Texans are covered! Texans of color, low-income working Texans including frontline workers, students, caregivers and Texas moms and dads are the most impacted by a lack of coverage and would gain access if we expanded Medicaid. You can learn more about who would gain eligibility through Medicaid Expansion here!
Bills that would expand Medicaid to cover all eligible Texans who apply are SB 118 by Senator Johnson, HB 171 by Representative Bernal, HB 509 by Representative Beckley, SB 1186 by Senator Alvarado, and HB 4406 Representative Ramos.
HB 1730 by Representative Lyle Larson would expand Medicaid to cover all eligible Texans if the state passes a constitutional amendment. This means if the bill passes, Texans would have a chance to vote to expand Medicaid! Other bills that would let Texans vote on Medicaid expansion are SB 38 by Senator Zaffirini, SB 119 by Senator Johnson, HB 389 by Representative Israel, and HB 398 by Representative Bucy.
2. “Live Well Texas” Bills, SB 117 by Senator Johnson and HB 3871 by Representative Johnson, will use a “waiver” to bring back Texas taxpayer dollars from the federal government to give more Texans access to coverage. These bipartisan bills would be a step in the right direction to combatting our dramatic uninsured rate!
HB 922 by Representative Reynolds is another bill that takes an alternative approach to traditional Medicaid expansion.
3. The Child Health Coverage Bills will let eligible kids keep their Medicaid coverage for 12 uninterrupted months so that they don’t lose access to healthcare due to red tape. Currently, many eligible children lose coverage due to errors made in mid-year eligibility checks. These bills are SB 39 by Senator Zaffirini and HB 290 by Representative Cortez.
4. The Maternal Health Coverage Bills will help Texas moms by allowing them to keep their insurance coverage for 12 (*or 24) months after they deliver their babies. Right now new mothers lose access to insurance just 2 months after childbirth. These bills support healthy Texas moms and babies by ensuring the mothers can get the health care and support that they need. You can learn more about this issue here.
The bills are SB 141 by Senator Johnson, HB 98, by Representative Lina Ortega, HB 107 by Representative Thompson, HB 133 by Representative Rose, and HB 146 by Representative Thierry. HB 414 by Representative Walle would extend coverage to moms for two years after childbirth.
5. The Supported Students and Families Bills HB 4334 by Representative Ina Minjarez and SB 2082 by Senator José Menéndez will connect more eligible children to Medicaid coverage by ensuring that when families enroll their children in schools that they receive information about program eligibility and how to apply. Currently, many eligible children are not enrolled in the program. This bill will perform effective outreach by meeting families where they are at – schools.
6. Other efforts to connect specific Texas communities to coverage were filed this session! HB 1189 by Representative Dutton will support low-income working parents, HB 731 by Representative González will extend Medicaid eligibility to immigrants who are lawfully present residents, and HB 4053 by Representative Meza will provide coverage to Texans living with Mental Illness.
This session Texas can and must improve and expand coverage by passing these bills. Our uninsured neighbors need our help and they cannot wait another 2 years to access health care. All Texans benefit when frontline workers, parents, children, and vulnerable communities like Texans with mental health disorders are covered. We urge the Texas legislature to support our neighbors, our well-being, and our economy by saying YES to these bills.
Are you one of the 9 in 10 Texans who want the Texas legislature to address healthcare coverage? Find out who represents you in the Texas legislature here and then contact your state representative and senator, the Lt. Gov. and the Governor (you can find their twitter handles here) and urge them to #CoverTXNow!