Ashley Lopez

Ways to Connect

Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman

After the failure of the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, there’s a new political landscape, and states across the country with Republican-led legislatures are weighing their options when it comes to Medicaid expansion. 

Conservative states – most recently Kansas — see an opening to extend health care to more low-income adults. But it’s unclear whether Texas – a state that has more uninsured people than any other state in the country – is willing to hop on the bandwagon.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For more than a year now, health officials have been trying to improve access to long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as IUDs, for women who want them. But there have been some pretty big hurdles, particularly at hospitals in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This summer, it will be a year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a strict abortion law in Texas. Half of the state’s abortion providers closed after the 2013 law, known as House Bill 2, went into effect.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

The federal refugee resettlement program has faced a lot of uncertainties in the past several weeks, and folks who work with refugees here in Austin say it’s making their work more complicated than usual.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

More than 1.2 million Texans are signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace. That’s the part of Obamacare that allows companies to sell plans directly to individuals. Under the GOP replacement bill working its way through Congress, there could be big changes to how the government helps these individuals pay for their plans.


ILLUSTRATION BY ANNEKE PATERSON / TODD WISEMAN

Exactly one week ago, a federal court struck down congressional maps drawn by Texas lawmakers in 2011.

The court sided with plaintiffs in the case who said lawmakers racially gerrymandered the districts. Among the court's concerns was an Austin district.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Medicaid in Texas is facing possible cuts from both the state and federal governments.

According to health care advocates, the Texas Senate is proposing a budget that underfunds Medicaid by at least $1.9 billion.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of people testified at the state Capitol on Tuesday about the so-called “bathroom bill.”

Senate Bill 6 would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public spaces that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. It passed out of the Senate Committee on State Affairs hearing, which lasted more than 20 hours, on a vote of 7-1 and will now go to the full Senate for a vote. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Between 16,000 and 17,000 Texans who said they had trouble getting a voter ID were able to sign an affidavit and vote in the last presidential election, thanks to a court order. Now lawmakers want to make it a felony if a voter signing such a form “knowingly makes a false statement or provides false information.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Texas health officials cannot kick Planned Parenthood out of the state's Medicaid program.

Qiling Wang for KUT

During trips to their districts this week, Republican congressmen representing the Austin area will not be holding town halls, even though many constituents have been asking for them.

That hasn’t stopped groups from holding town halls of their own – even if the member of Congress they want to talk to isn’t there.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The federal health insurance marketplace has been a big help to startups in Austin in the past few years. It's giving tech workers the ability to buy health insurance when their fledgling employers are too small to provide benefits.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas lawmakers are still referencing a highly edited undercover video from 2015 purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal tissue.

Photo illustration by Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Andrew Weber / KUT

Just a few weeks into the Texas legislative session, there are already some questions about whether embattled state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, is spending enough time in the Texas State Capitol.

During the last legislative session in 2015, medical issues stemming from an accident kept Dukes, a long-time member of the Legislature, from the Capitol. And, while she told reporters earlier this year that doctors said she would be able to return to work, since the start of the session, her recorded attendance has been pretty spotty.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Amid some uncertainty and confusion regarding the country's refugee resettlement program, the federal agency in charge of helping refugees resettle has designated a group of nonprofits that will take over services previously carried out by the State of Texas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week some prominent Republicans said Texas should get rid of straight-ticket voting. Texas is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that allow a person to vote once for one political party straight down the ballot.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

It has been about a week since President Trump signed an executive order banning travel into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump said the ban is an effort to stop terrorists from entering the country, even though refugees already go through an extensive screening process. Local groups who help resettle refugees in Texas say they still don’t know what this means for the families they were expecting this week.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Faith groups and supporters of the refugee community gathered at a church near UT-Austin’s campus last night in solidarity with refugees already resettled in Texas following President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from predominately Muslim countries.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

With talk of Republicans in Congress repealing the health care law in the coming months, this could be the last time the health insurance marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act, can offer Texans insurance.

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