Take Action at #txlege: Week of Feb. 11

Contributed by Felicia Miyakawa, Special Education Advocate

For those of you trying to keep up with #txlege, here are some action items regarding special education and medically fragile kids/adults.

This week there will be several hearings about funding and appropriations. For those of you who have less familiarity with these issues, please know that we need you to amplify our voices.

1. The Senate Finance Committee will be meeting about education matters in SB 1 on Monday morning at 10. SB 1 is the Senate’s budget bill. You can watch the hearing here once it’s live.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: the current bill does not provide for the $50 million identified as necessary to fix the Special Education plan TEA has already laid out (aka, the Corrective Action Plan), an action that is required because of a Federal Department of Education investigation. Public testimony is allowed at this hearing for a maximum of 3 minutes. Written testimony will be accepted. Please see the hearing notice for details.

2. House Appropriations Article II subcommittee will meet Monday morning at 8 to discuss Health and Human Services. You should be able to watch the hearing here once it’s live.

KEY ISSUES HERE: currently there is a 10+ year waitlist for kids with disabilities who need state resources. We need HHS to fund the “waivers” so we can get these kids off waitlists and get them the support they need. Public testimony will be allowed at this hearing for a maximum of 3 minutes. The hearing notice does not specify anything regarding written testimony.

3. House Appropriations will meet again on Thursday at 8, and one of the topics that day is Early Childhood Intervention. Over the past few sessions we’ve had HUGE cuts to these programs, and many rural providers have stopped providing services. We have huge gaps in service now, to say the least. Public testimony will be heard at this hearing, too. Please see the hearing notice for details. Watch here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. If any of these issues are important to you personally, consider going to the capitol to give testimony.
2. If you would like to submit written testimony and can’t get to the Capitol, let me know and I can try to connect you with someone who can help you.
3. For everyone else, please call members of the above committees to support these funding needs.

House Appropriations Article II Subcommittee members

Senate Finance Committee members (includes Watson and Campbell from Central Texas districts)

 

Healthcare Issues at the 86th Texas Legislature – VIDEO

On Thursday, January 24, we hosted a briefing with Laura Guerra-Cardus from Children’s Defense Fund-Texas and the Cover Texas Now coalition to hear about a host of healthcare issues at the #txlege. If you want to catch up on these issues, the slides and video of the presentation are available. We’re planning a mid-session catch-up presentation to check in on how our priorities are progressing during session.

Sign up to stay on top of the latest at the Lege with the Indivisible Austin #txlege newsletter

Full Briefing Video

Presentation Slides

 

 

 

Open Letter from ADAPT of Texas to Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton

Reposted with permission from ADAPT of Texas

Dear Governor Abbott and Atty General Paxton:

ADAPT of Texas is concerned about the lawsuit you are leading that, if successful, will rule that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.

The ACA has significantly improved health care in the state of Texas. These improvements include several aspects of community long term services and supports. What are some of the benefits?  Examples include:

  • Required essential benefits in health insurance plans;
  • Elimination of annual and lifetime maximum benefits cap;
  • Allowing young people to stay on parent’s insurance until age 26;
  • Protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Increased Medicaid match for home & community services.

Even with these improvements Texas leads the nation with the largest number and percentage of uninsured people.  Texas has the largest number of uninsured children – 10.7% – more than twice the national average. These numbers could have been significantly reduced in the past few years; however, Texas has chosen not to avail ourselves of the Medicaid Expansion.

ADAPT of Texas wants to highlight two areas in the ACA that currently have a direct positive effect on people with disabilities of all ages.

COVERAGE FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

All disabled people, regardless of age, have a pre-existing condition, many have more than one.  This fact is often overlooked when discussing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are a disability issue.  The protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the ACA not only require insurance coverage, this coverage must be offered for the same price as insurance coverage for people without pre-existing conditions. In addition, the ACA provides a subsidy so people with less income can afford this important coverage.

Texas recognized the need of people with pre-existing conditions before the ACA and created a High Risk Pool.  This pool was shut down when the ACA became law. Though the coverage was not bad, it was outrageously expensive, completely unaffordable to thousands of Texans.  The result? Texans with pre-existing conditions, who were not on Medicaid and/or Medicare and were not wealthy, were often uninsured, were sicker or more disabled, and even died because of lack of coverage.

COMMUNITY LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS

There are many sections in the ACA that do not directly impact health insurance yet have a significant effect on the health care delivery system.

The Community First Choice (CFC) Option is a section in the ACA that improves the individuals’ health by delivering long term services and supports in a community setting.  Study after study shows that people of all ages who need personal care supports prefer and benefit from services and supports in the community. Not only do these people prefer and see health benefits from community services and supports, they save the state millions of Medicaid dollars.  Texas provides CFC services to people with disabilities and, thanks to the ACA, receives a 6% Medicaid enhanced match.

If the Texas led lawsuit prevails, protections for pre-existing conditions, CFC and the 6% Medicaid enhanced match goes away.

ADAPT of Texas asks you not to target Texans with disabilities and to drop off the lawsuit and work with us to develop a health care delivery system, including community long term services and supports, that meet the needs of people with disabilities of all ages and incomes.

We ask for a meeting to discuss the above issues.  Please let me know the day, time and location that works for y’all.

For an Institution and Barrier Free Texas,

Bob Kafka, Organizer

ADAPT of Texas

bob.adapt@sbcglobal.net

Take Action: Write a Letter to the Editor about Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions

Reposted with permission from Children’s Defense Fund—Texas

On Wednesday, September 5, Texas and 19 other states are going to federal court in an effort to end health care protections for millions of people, including the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, genetic conditions, depression, and even pregnancy).

Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act may have stopped in Congress for the time being, but the Trump administration continues to undermine the ACA in many ways. This time it’s getting help from the attorneys general and governors of 20 states, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The ACA’s pre-existing condition protection — the guarantee that you can’t be denied coverage or charged more due to something in your medical history — is one of the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, but this protection is now at risk.  A new bill introduced in Congress has been pitched as saving pre-existing condition coverage, but it would allow insurance companies to exclude medical care for your pre-existing conditions, even though you could still technically buy a policy, essentially denying meaningful coverage. The legislation also does not address any of the other protections listed below that are also at risk.

You may be wondering WHAT CAN I DO? One thing you can do is to write a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper this week. It may not get published, but if a LOT of people write on the same issue, there’s a good chance some of those letters will get published.

The court case is quickly approaching on September 5th.  We need thousands of Letters to the Editor to go to local newspapers in Texas and the other 19 states (see below) included in the lawsuit to raise mass awareness about what is at stake.

Most papers limit the length of LTEs to 150-250 words. You can usually find the guidelines and a submission portal or email address on the Opinion page of your local paper’s website. If you are feeling very motivated and have a lot to say, consider extending your letter into an op-ed, which has a more generous 600-700 word limit.

This is a sample personal letter to the editor on what losing pre-existing condition protections would mean to a Texan. Feel free to use it to help you craft your own. This letter includes elements that are common to successful LTEs:

  • Facts to build an argument
  • An emotional hook to pull the reader in
  • A call to action to those in power & our fellow citizens

Like more than a quarter of Texans, I have a pre-existing condition. Like many Texans, I’m self-employed. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act I now have insurance coverage and can’t be denied insurance or dropped from my plan because of my family history of colon cancer. If Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit succeeds, millions of people like me will go back to a time when we lived without health insurance and in fear of going to the doctor.

In 2013 I celebrated my fortieth birthday. It was a birthday I dreaded because of the word associated with it: colonoscopy. As my grandmother of blessed memory got older, she had several colon cancer scares. Thanks to Medicare and rigorous screening, she avoided developing cancer. Colonoscopies probably saved her life.

Without the protection of health insurance, people like me wouldn’t be able to get the potentially life-saving preventive care we need to stay healthy.

My fortieth birthday present wasn’t glamorous. But it was a gift nonetheless because I was able to get the screening and treatment I needed. If Paxton’s lawsuit is successful, the millions of Texans like me who have pre-existing conditions may not be so lucky.

Need more inspiration for your letter to the editor? The following protections are at risk in the lawsuit:

  • Allowing children to remain on their parents insurance until age 26.
  • Free annual preventive care, like mammograms, flu shots, and pediatric visits could no longer be covered.
  • Women could once again be charged more for insurance just for being women.
  • The ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits could be overturned. Insurance plans could limit how much they will cover each year or in total.
  • The limit on out-of-pocket costs (what you pay for coverage after you’ve paid your premiums) could be overturned.
  • Tax credits that help people pay for health insurance) could be eliminated.
  • Medicaid expansion covering 12 million people could be eliminated.

Overall, 180 million people who get insurance through an employer or purchase an individual plan on their own could lose these important protections if the lawsuit is successful.

The following states are party to the lawsuit:

  • TEXAS and
  • ALABAMA
  • ARKANSAS
  • ARIZONA
  • FLORIDA
  • GEORGIA
  • INDIANA
  • KANSAS
  • LOUISIANA
  • PAUL LePAGE, Governor of Maine
  • MISSISSIPPI, by and through Governor Phil Bryant
  • MISSOURI
  • NEBRASKA
  • NORTH DAKOTA
  • SOUTH CAROLINA
  • SOUTH DAKOTA
  • TENNESSEE
  • UTAH
  • WEST VIRGINIA
  • WISCONSIN

Letter to the Editor links for Texas dailies:

Austin American-Statesman

http://www.statesman.com/opinion/letters/form/

Edited letters typically address a single idea and do not exceed 150 words.

San Antonio Express-News

letters@express-news.net

No hard word limit, but “shorter is better.” More details here:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/article/Sharing-your-views-with-the-San-Antonio-6744466.php

Houston Chronicle

viewpoints@chron.com

Max. 250 words. More details here (scroll to the bottom):

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/

Dallas Morning News

https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2017/02/09/submit-letter-editor

Max. 200 words

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/submit-letter/

Max. 200 words

El Paso Times

http://static.elpasotimes.com/lettertoeditor/

Max. 225 words

McAllen Monitor

https://www.themonitor.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

Max. 300 words (very generous!)

Corpus Christi Caller-Times

http://static.caller.com/submit-letter/

No word limit stated

Waco Tribune-Herald

https://www.wacotrib.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/submit/

Max. 300 words

Lubbock Avalanche Journal

http://www.lubbockonline.com/opinion/20180731/write-stuff-how-to-submit-letter-to-editor

Max. 250-300 words

A Day on the Hill

(Read about day 1 of my trip to D.C.)

Bright and early last Thursday morning I headed to the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center for the weekly coffee with Sen. John Cornyn, which I RSVP-ed for in advance (and I don’t know if they spend any time researching attendees, but I suspect they do).

Texas flag sign that say says Texas Thursday Coffee Senator John Cornyn
Even Texas signs are bigger

It was gorgeous DC day, and this sort of picture-perfect postcard view of the Capitol is enough to give even the most jaded Texas gal a little hope.

U.S. Capitol dome
Our Capitol is beautiful, majestic, and inspiring.

I joined about 50 other fellow Texans at the coffee, which was held in a large meeting room in the visitors center. I had a few minimum expectations about this event, and I had prepared for any opportunity to speak to or ask questions of the senior senator from Texas. I was ready to talk to him about the family separation policy, gun safety reform, and health care. I was also aware that I was in a room full of people who likely had diverse views on all these issues.

I got my coffee and filled out my photo information form. And then waited for something to happen.

At about 9:50 a staffer (not intern–though they were mostly young white male interns) came in and made a beeline to an older gentleman wearing a Make America Great Again hat. She spent a fair bit of time talking to him and his (I assume) wife.

A few other staffers came in and each spoke with a few folks. In the meantime, they started to line us up to take our photos with the senator. Finally Sen. Cornyn came in and went straight to the flags for photos. We were hustled through very quickly, maybe 15 seconds each, and since no one else was chatting him up I didn’t either. That was a crucial mistake.

More than 50 constituents came to the coffee, and our senator didn’t take any time to speak with us, except for banalities while shaking hands and taking a picture. He whizzed in, took photos for 10 minutes, and then disappeared. There was no welcome from him or from his staff. There was no acknowledgement that most people in the room had traveled from Texas to be there. And there was absolutely no opportunity to engage with our senator about any of the critical policy issues.

I have been to D.C. for enough meetings with members of Congress over the years to have had a certain set of expectations about what happens when 50 constituents are in the room. I learned my lesson and I’m passing it on to you: go to the coffee, get the photo, but also make the appointment and go to the office.

As interns started coming into the room to give people information about their tours, I took my last opportunity to connect with staff. I hand-delivered 300 postcards constituents had signed over the last couple of months, asking Sen. Cornyn to pass basic gun safety reforms that the vast majority of Texans and Americans support. If you wrote a postcard to Sen. Cornyn at the March for Our Lives or the Town Hall for Our Lives, they were delivered, and I hope you get a response. Please share it if you do!

Approximately 300 postcards from Sen. John Cornyn's constituents, asking for strong gun safety measures to protect our children.
Approximately 300 postcards from Sen. John Cornyn’s constituents, asking for strong gun safety measures to protect our children.

My next meeting on the hill couldn’t have been more different. I had reached out to Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s D.C. office the week before my trip and asked if I could stop by and meet some of the staffers so I could put names to faces. I expected to spend about 15-30 minutes at the office at most, but was treated to the opportunity to spend some time with each member of the congressman’s policy team. All my preparation paid off!

In the time I spent with the congressman’s staff, we discussed family separation and what’s happening here in Austin, as well as upcoming Congressional trips to the border; gun violence prevention actions and the hearing on red flag laws and safe gun storage at the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence committee on June 25; work being done to address out-of-control drug prices; the immigration bills that will hit the House floor this week (they are both bad, so call your reps!); the new poll on support for Medicaid expansion in Texas. We probably touched on a few other things I’ve forgotten.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Lisa Goodgame
Thank you for taking a few minutes to chat!

As I was about to leave, Rep. Doggett appeared, and he generously gave me a few minutes. We talked about several of the items on the list above, but most specifically about the actions Democratic members of Congress are taking to address family separation. Something is happening out there, and people are deeply moved by the horror we’re seeing play out at the border. I’m thankful for the members who are putting this issue front and center, and I hope it will drive some change in Congress. But when we see Texas members of Congress hailing the policy as a positive development while also lying that it’s happening because of a law passed by Democrats it’s hard to imagine any sort of solution. Also, do they not hear themselves contradicting themselves in that lie?

With just about an hour left in my schedule, I quickly headed to the offices of Rep. Flores, Rep. Smith, and Rep. McCaul to drop off more postcards asking for stronger gun safety measures, as well as some letters from voters. I have a plan to visit Sen. Cruz’s office next time I’m in D.C.

I caught a member of Rep. McCaul’s staff in the middle of lunch, but I made him listen to me for several minutes as I shared my concerns on the policy of family separation, the criminalization of asylum-seekers, and the need to change this inhumane response to people fleeing violence. He listened, was reasonably friendly, and promised to put my concerns in the database. I’ll let you know if I get a response.

Here’s my key takeaway from this trip: really bad shit is happening in our government every single day and the executive branch agencies are being gutted and destroyed by political appointees. We can campaign our butts off trying to get new people elected in November, but right now most of our representatives are co-signing everything the president wants. Our representatives have traded away a lot of their decency for tax cuts. Each day that we don’t call or take action and engage the people who represent us right now, we are tacitly telling them that we’re OK with what they’re doing and how they are representing us.

We. Are. Not. Don’t let them forget it.

Call Congress to Protect SNAP on May 8

What: Call-In Day to Protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

When: Tuesday, May 8

​Who: Call your member of Congress at 888-398-8702

Please share this action alert widely and use the downloadable social media graphics from Children’s Defense Fund-Texas below 

Adapted from CPPP‘s SNAP action alert:
About 3.8 million Texans — kids, the elderly, people with disabilities, veterans and workers who don’t earn enough to feed their families — turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”) to help buy food every month. It is the nation’s most effective anti-hunger program.

Now, SNAP is at risk because of proposals in the Farm Bill, the legislation that includes this vital program. The Farm Bill would make it harder for millions of working mothers to put food on the table by taking away or cutting their food benefits. In all, the proposal would cut the actual money families receive to buy food by more than $17 billion and instead would spend billions setting up a new system of untested work programs and requirements with punishing penalties.

RSVP on Facebook to join the National Call-in Day and let Congress know you oppose cuts to the SNAP program

Call your member of Congress on May 8 at 888-398-8702

Sample script/talking points:

  1. Identify yourself as a constituent calling about pending legislation.
  2. Tell them you want your representative to oppose the current Farm Bill, because it would:
    1. Cut food assistance for struggling families in your community, and
    2. Misuse those same funds to expand a bureaucracy that sells the promise of work, but won’t deliver results.
  3. Give a concrete example from your experience to demonstrate why you care.
  4. Provide your full mailing address and ask to receive a response from your member of Congress.
  5. Thank the staff member!

 

Right click to download and share these images on social media:

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Take this quiz to see if you get a tax break from the Trump Tax Scam

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Call Senators Cornyn and Cruz NOW

Caller: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling to let Senator [Cruz / Cornyn] know that I strongly oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This tax bill is a scam that will give massive cuts to the wealthy, paid for by leaving tens of thousands of people in Texas uninsured, raising premiums, and raising taxes on middle-class families.

Staffer: The Senator is in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He thinks it is important that we reform our broken, complex tax code so that middle-class families can benefit.

Caller: This tax bill won’t help middle class families get ahead. Every single provision intended to help the middle-class expires, but the corporate tax cuts are forever. Even worse, the CBO estimates that health insurance premiums will increase 10% more per year than they would without this bill and we know 13 million more people will be uninsured!

Staffer: I’ll pass your thoughts along to the Senator.

Caller: Yes please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what the Senator decides to do.

Tax plan shell game hurts middle-class Texans

Who is the Tax Cut and Jobs Act for? What is it really meant to do? Create jobs? No. Regardless of how you normally vote, you know this bill doesn’t pass the smell test. It has one priority: cutting taxes for the wealthiest, by shifting the burden to everyone else.

Take our quiz to determine if you’ll get a tax break from the Trump Tax Scam >>

The House version of this scam gives the top .3 percent of Texans 52 percent of cuts. That’s 83,000 out of the nearly 28,000,000 Texans. Imagine the residents of Mission, Texas getting more tax cuts than the rest of the state combined. It would be farcical, if it wasn’t so serious.

The most narrow yet extreme of these cuts may be the elimination of the estate tax, which applies to only the largest .2 percent of estates. A married couple can pass on $10.9 million to their children before any estate tax is due. Do you know anyone who has $11 million to pass on? Rep. Michael McCaul, the wealthiest Texan in Congress, would save $38.7 million. However, this change is really about Sen. Ted Cruz’s desire to save non-Texan Robert Mercer hundreds of millions more. Never mind the expense to the country that provided the environment and secure conditions necessary for them to amass their stunning wealth.

Congress’ tax plans are shell game, offering slightly reduced rates and an increased standard deduction with one hand, while yanking away essential credits and deductions with the other. Important supposed benefits for the middle class include increased child tax credits as well as new credits for essentially every other member of the household. When taken together, these might be enough to make up for the elimination of personal exemptions, which deduct more than $4000 of taxable income for each person in your household. With the introduction of the Senate version of the bill, all the supposed tax benefits for middle class folks will disappear in 2025 — but the corporate tax cuts will be permanent.

You have major medical expenses? Sorry, no deduction. Want an education? Tax credits and deductions for student loan interest are gone. Buying a house with a $750,000 mortgage? Only interest on $500,000 is deductible. Lost everything in a disaster, like so many in Houston and the Gulf Coast? Now you’re really out of luck, because the property loss deduction is lost.

And now the Senate has decided to turn its version of the tax bill into a stealth attempt to repeal the ACA. There’s no question that it will cause premiums to go up and at least 13 million people uninsured by 2027.

Some may end up with a scrap of a benefit for a few years, but many won’t. Even those who do actually see a cut will see it turn into a tax increase by 2027 when the tax cuts for individuals phase out.

Extraordinary cuts will be required to pay for this — cuts that will disproportionately target health care programs that millions of Americans depend on. The House’s budget plan depends on more than $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, which is even higher than any of the ACA repeal plans. We expect an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, and a total of $500 billion in cuts to Medicare.

All of this is for what? So Wells Fargo can rebuild shareholder value? So the children of billionaires can inherit even more money?

No. It’s not right, and it shouldn’t happen. Tell your representatives that it can’t happen. They work for all 28 million Texans, not just the 83,000 at the top.

Sick of This: Help All Austinites Win Earned Sick Days on 11/16

Guest post from Work Strong Austin Coalition
(Abajo en español)

As Austin continues to grow, too many working people are left without the ability to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families.

All workers, regardless of background, wage level, and occupation, should have access to earned sick days. Unfortunately, approximately 223,000 Austin workers – 37 percent of the total workforce – are at risk of losing wages or being fired if they follow doctor’s orders when they or a family member are ill.

In September, Austin City Council passed a resolution that would begin a public input process to bring Austin working families, business leaders, community groups and public health professionals together to discuss paid sick days. Please join us for the Second Stakeholder Meeting: November 16, 4:00pm – 6:30pm, Town Lake Center Assembly Room 130, 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas 78704. Come and support paid sick days. We need to make sure our voices are heard.

You can also provide feedback to the City of Austin about why it’s critical for all Austinites to have paid sick days on this online forum here. Can you please take a few minutes to fill out this survey.

Learn more about Work Strong Austin’s paid sick days campaign:
English

Español

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La ciudad de Austin sigue creciendo, debido a esto demasiadas familias trabajadoras se estan quedando atras en la posibilidad de proveer y mejorar la calidad de vida de si mismos y de sus familias.

Todos los trabajadores, independientemente del tipo de trabajo que hagan o de cuánto ganan, deberían de poder cuidarse a sí mismos o a un ser querido en situaciones de necesidad.Desafortunadamente, aproximadamente 223,000 trabajadores en Austin — lo que equivale al 37 por ciento de la fuerza laboral — están en riesgo de perder salarios o ser despedidos si siguen las órdenes del médico cuando ellos o un miembro de su familia están enfermos.

En Septiembre el Concilio de Austin pasó una resolución para iniciar un proceso público en el cual familias de Austin, negocios, grupos comunitarios, médicos entre otros discutirán la posibilidad de una ordenanza de días de enfermedad pagados. Por favor acompáñenos a la segunda reunión de este proceso el 16 de Noviembre de 4:00pm – 6:30pm, Town Lake Center Assembly Room 130, 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas 78704. Venga a apoyar esta campaña, tenemos que asegurarnos que nuestras voces sean escuchadas.

También puede dar su opinión a la Ciudad de Austin de la importancia crítica para todos que todos los trabajadores tengan este derecho de días de enfermedad pagados. Puede llenar este cuestionario aquí.

30+ Texas Health Groups Send Urgent CHIP letter to Washington

Cross-posted, with permission, from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP)

Kids' health care can't wait. Renew CHIP now

With a quickly approaching deadline—after which 400,000 Texas kids could be dropped from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—over 30 leading Texas health care and advocacy organizations sent a joint letter to U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott urgently requesting intervention.

As part of the Children’s Health Coverage Coalition, the groups are asking federal leaders to renew CHIP funding as soon as possible.

Waiting to resolve CHIP funding until the end of this year is not an option, because any delay in funding could cause significant disruptions to families staring in early December.

Kids in Texas’ 53 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey might be especially vulnerable, as families struggle to rebuild their lives.

View a copy of the letter here. Texas CHIP enrollment data by county for August 2017 is available here.

Read more about CHIP and CHIP funding here.

To speak to leaders of some of the groups that signed on, please contact:

Children’s Defense Fund- Texas; Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus LGuerraCar@childrensdefense.org  (713) 419-8422

Texas Pediatric Society, The Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; contact Tricia Hall, Executive Director, C: 512-370-1506

Oliver Bernstein, Center for Public Policy Priorities, 512.289.8618