Vote on Republican Federal Healthcare Plan Delayed Again / 1115 Transformation Waivers / I Support Mayor Turner’s Pension Reform Bill

Vote on Republican Federal Healthcare Plan Delayed Again

The U.S. House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is delayed again this week, after already failing in March. The Republican bill—known as the American Health Care Act—has changed considerably since it was first introduced, but the revised bill is even worse for Americans than the original one. The revised bill still includes the harmful provisions that were in the original legislation introduced in March.

Those provisions would:
  • Leave 24 million more Americans uninsured
  • Increase the cost of insurance for millions of Americans
  • Cut Medicaid funding and protections for Texas children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities
The new amendment to the bill would also allow states to:
  • Strip protections for pre-existing conditions
  • Strip requirements for insurance companies to cover essential health benefits such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care
Currently, President Trump and the U.S. House Republicans do not have the votes to pass their healthcare plan, but it is slated to come up for a vote in the House next week. Call your U.S. House Representative and urge him or her to protect Americans by voting NO on the Republican healthcare plan. Click here to locate your U.S. Representative.

Bill Update

Today, in the House Committee on Appropriations, I laid out House Bill 4212 that I authored, relating to the renewal of the 1115 Transformation Waiver under Medicaid.

The 1115 Transformation Waiver is a vital tool that has allowed Texas to expand Medicaid managed care while preserving federal hospital funding. It has been a significant funding source for the Texas health care system. From 2011 to 2016, Texas received 29 billion dollars because of the 1115 Transformation Waiver. The 1115 Transformation Waiver contains two funding pools: the Uncompensated Care pool and the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) pool. The Uncompensated Care pool provides payments to health care providers that provide care to indigent or low-income patients to help offset the costs of uncompensated care. DSRIP funding provides financial incentives that encourage hospitals and other providers to develop and implement programs that enhance access, quality, and cost-effectiveness.

HB 4212 directs the Health and Human Services Commission to maintain certain core tenants of the 1115 Transformation Waiver if the agency seeks a renewal, including Uncompensated Care, Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, and variation in the provision of Medicaid services. This bill ensures that any renewal of the 1115 Transformation Waiver will continue to benefit Texans.

Mayor Turner’s Pension Reform Bill

Today, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) released “A Pivotal Moment: Assessing Houston’s Plan for Pension Reform,” a report that provides an in-depth analysis of the City of Houston’s pension reform proposal currently moving through Texas’ legislative process. The report concludes Mayor Turner’s pension reform proposal will “accomplish key goals of responsible pension reform by establishing a plan to pay off Houston’s pension debt within 30 years and by providing a mechanism—through the financial corridor provision—to control future cost increases” (pg. 14). Click here to view the report. 

I support Mayor Turner’s pension reform bill—House Bill 43—and am proud to be a joint author on it. Mayor Turner is bringing forth a viable solution for Houston’s future finances. It could be voted on as early as next week and I will continue to keep you updated on this important issue.

On Wednesday, I was invited to participate in a round table discussion about the criminal justice system, people with mental illness, and overall law enforcement issues with Mental Health America Texas and the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas to air on KXAN Austin in mid-May. Stay tuned.

Our song of the week is “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters.

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