health care

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON - Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate on Thursday unveiled their plan to overhaul President Obama's 2010 health care law. Within hours, Texas' two Republican senators took opposite positions on the measure.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health care overhaul proposal on Thursday. The Senate bill, called the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The broad outlines of it look a lot like the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which was passed in May.

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For patients visiting emergency rooms in Texas, surprise medical bills are common. In 2009, the Texas Legislature developed a mediation system for these hefty bills, but it was limited.

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law aimed at improving the system and expanding consumer protection.

Matt Lankes Photography

Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined mayors across the country in drawing attention to mental health as part of the National Mayors' Mental Health Day of Action on Wednesday. He called on Congress to protect mental health services in the American Health Care Act, which, if passed in its current state, would leave many people without access to mental health care in Travis County.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, there are still new parts of the law going into effect.

In fact, at the start of this year, a provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs or activities formally kicked in. In Texas, that has translated into a new standard for language-access programs across the state.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Legislation making its way through the Texas Legislature could impose new regulations on freestanding emergency rooms in the state.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives took another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare on Thursday, passing the American Health Care Act.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

The House voted Thursday to narrowly approve a Republican-drafted measure that would eliminate many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act — the first step toward keeping one of President Trump's campaign pledges and a victory for GOP lawmakers who have long railed against Obamacare, as the ACA is commonly known. The vote was 217-213.

The measure moves to the Senate, where its fate is far from certain — and where top lawmakers in both parties are already signaling that there is a long legislative process ahead.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Victoria Tisor is a healthy 60-year-old who lives in Austin and doesn’t have health insurance.

Tisor scheduled a routine colonoscopy many months ago and waited six months for an appointment. A week before the appointment, she got a call from the doctor’s office wanting to know who her insurance provider was.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Central Health’s board is choosing a new CEO in the coming days. There are two finalists to replace Patricia Young Brown, who stepped down late last year.

In case you aren’t entirely sure what Central Health does or why you should care, here’s a primer:

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In less than two months, Austin will have a $310 million teaching hospital on UT Austin’s medical campus.

The hospital is part of a long-term deal struck between the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Central Health, Seton and Travis County voters in 2012. The agreement led to a tax increase to pay for a medical school and set aside land for a new hospital.

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.

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.


A new report finds that the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over a decade but would also leave 24 million more Americans uninsured during that same period.

Allison Shelley

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz gave a pessimistic prediction Wednesday for the new House Republican health care bill's chances in the Senate — though he said the bill's fate would be improved with some changes. 

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.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

About a month ago, cuts to a state Medicaid program providing therapy to children with disabilities and developmental delays went into effect.

Child advocates have warned the cuts would put access to care in jeopardy and, as the cuts continue roll out, both lawyers and advocates are keeping an eye out for children who are experiencing gaps in care.

Photo by Jack Plunkett/Feature Photo Service for IBM

These days, many Americans would prefer to “age in place” – or stay in their home as long as they can live safely, independently and comfortably. How long will depend on each individual, but there’s a lab in Austin hoping to extend the timeline for all of us – with robots.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A program that helped women in rural parts of Texas navigate the state’s complicated health care system is being phased-out next year.  That’s even though a new study out of UT Austin shows the program helped increase breast and cervical cancer screenings in those areas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From Texas Standard:

Federal funding will be an integral part of controlling Zika in Texas. But promising funding may be easier said than done. Congress left Washington last month for a seven-week recess without passing legislation that would have provided additional funding to combat the virus. Senate Democrats now lead a growing chorus who say Congress should cancel the recess to pass Zika legislation.

Jamie Lovegrove, the Washington correspondent for the Dallas Morning News, tells the Standard that now Texas Republicans are also asking the Obama administration to step up their efforts. They're requesting more transparency about the administration's use of the $589 million that it re-purposed from other areas of the budget in April.

 


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