How well being care payments on postpartum Medicaid, ‘tampon tax’ and extra fared within the Legislature

How well being care payments on postpartum Medicaid, ‘tampon tax’ and extra fared within the Legislature

The regular legislative session ended Mondayand all this week, we’ll be taking a better look how sure points fared – what handed and what failed.

Right here’s how well being and well being care points performed out on the Capitol:

Nursing workforce retention

A number of profitable payments this session concentrate on the scarcity of nurses in Texas, a long-standing issue heightened by COVID-19. A pre-pandemic study from the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies initiatives Texas could have a deficit of 57,000 lively registered nurses by 2032.

Senate Invoice 840 will increase the penalty for bodily assault of hospital personnel from a misdemeanor to a felony in lots of circumstances. Serena Bumpus, CEO of the Texas Nurses Affiliation, mentioned threats of violence trigger emotional burnout amongst nurses and different well being care employees

“If we will put issues in place in our well being care organizations to handle office violence, then the chances are that we are going to retain extra nurses, as a result of they’re bored with being assaulted and verbally abused day by day once they go to work,” Bumpus mentioned.

At present on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk is a invoice that goals to assist extra college students change into nurses in coaching: SB 25 will create a scholarship and mortgage compensation program for nursing college students, together with nurses who function educational nursing college, that are additionally in brief provide.

Diane Santa Maria, dean of the Cizik College of Nursing on the College of Texas Well being Science Heart in Houston, spoke in assist of the invoice whereas addressing the Senate Committee on Well being and Human Providers in March.

“Except we do one thing dramatic, which is what this invoice helps, we’re not going to have the nursing workforce we’d like tomorrow, not to mention in what we’d like in 10 years,” Santa Maria mentioned.

– Olivia Aldridge, KUT

» MORE LEGISLATURE 2023: How education issues like special ed funding, school book bans fared

An finish to the ‘tampon tax’

A bill eliminating what some call the “tampon tax” on female hygiene merchandise went to the governor’s desk this session.

The laws removes gross sales tax from interval merchandise like tampons and pads, in addition to provides for brand spanking new and anticipating dad and mom: diapers for each adults and kids, child wipes, maternity clothes and breast pumps.

Democratic Rep. Donna Howard of Austin, one of many invoice’s sponsors, spoke with The Texas Newsroom about the legislation earlier this session.

“It’s alleged to be a invoice that’s centered on on a regular basis necessities {that a} household would possibly want and a lady particularly would possibly want,” Howard mentioned.

These necessities will be part of merchandise like meals and drugs in being exempt from gross sales tax.

– Aurora Berry, The Texas Newsroom

Extra choices for hearing-impaired Texans

House Bill 109 prevents medical insurance corporations from denying claims for listening to aids primarily based solely on price.

For instance, if an individual’s plan features a $1,500 profit for listening to aids, and the required machine prices $2,000, the enrollee would be capable of pay the distinction out of pocket – the insurance coverage firm can not deny the declare outright prefer it might beforehand.

Meaning extra choices for hearing-impaired Texans. The regulation applies to each adults and kids who use listening to aids.

Michelle Pho, a pediatric audiologist at Dell Youngsters’s Medical Heart in Austin, testified in favor of the invoice.

“Sure options of listening to aids is probably not out there within the degree of know-how coated by a affected person’s insurance coverage,” Pho mentioned. “So passing this invoice would enable households to pick the extent of listening to machine most acceptable for his or her little one’s wants, no matter any limitations in insurance coverage protection.”

An identical bill handed out of committee unanimously final session however didn’t make it to the governor’s desk.

– Alexandra Hart, Texas Commonplace

Prolonged well being protection for pregnant Texans

Home Invoice 12, authored by Rep. Toni Rose, extends postpartum Medicaid protection for Texans from two months to 12 months.

Texas is among the many states with the very best maternal mortality fee in the nationand lots of of these deaths occur between “43 days to at least one 12 months after the tip of being pregnant,” in keeping with the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee. The committee and advocates like Diana Forester, director of well being coverage for Texans Care for Childrenmentioned an extended protection window would assist individuals get care to stop these deaths.

“As a result of we’re not sustaining entry to care and permitting individuals to handle persistent situations between pregnancies, it creates tougher pregnancies,” Forester mentioned. “It creates worse well being outcomes, and it prices the state extra, actually.”

The Home handed a 12-month extension in 2021however the Senate model of the invoice, signed into regulation by Gov. Greg Abbott, solely permitted six months of protection. The Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers (CMS) are nonetheless reviewing Texas’ application for six months of coverage.

Surrounding stateslike New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana, all permitted and carried out the 12-month extension for pregnant individuals of their state.

“We’re behind,” Forester mentioned. “We’re so behind at this level.”

In a listening to on HB 12 in March, mom Connie Bunch testified in favor of the invoice. She had Medicaid protection for each of her pregnancies, which allowed her to get remedy for persistent situations like hypertension and diabetes.

“If I didn’t have that extension of Medicaid, I don’t know what I’ve accomplished,” Bunch mentioned. “I in all probability wouldn’t be alive, to be sincere. Aneurysms can kill you. Coronary heart situations can kill you. And all of that will have been untreated as a result of I don’t go (to the hospital). I don’t have the cash.”

The invoice had widespread assist from each Democrats and Republicans, together with House Speaker Dade Phelan identifying HB 12 as one of his priorities this yearhowever has modified over the session.

The invoice’s unique language specified protection would finish “on the last day of the woman’s pregnancy,” which matches CMS’s federal language for Medicaid protection. Republican lawmakers and representatives from anti-abortion teams like Texas Proper to Life had been involved that will enable HB 12 to cowl individuals’s post-abortion care.

The Senate model of the invoice, which was permitted in a convention committee and now heads to the governor’s desk, nonetheless contains the unique language however features a “legislative goal” part that states protection is prolonged for pregnant individuals “whose pregnancies end in the delivery of the child or end in the natural loss of the child.” If signed into regulation, it goes into impact Sept. 1.

– Elena Rivera, KERA

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