In the 2011 Texas Legislature we saw dramatic cuts made to access for women to healthcare—not just funding cuts but shifts in how we talk about family planning and healthcare for women. As we move into the 83rd Texas Legislature understanding who will impact the decisions of made at the Lege is important.
House Committee Impacting Women’s Healthcare
At the end of January, Speaker Straus appointed members of the Texas House of Representatives to 38 standing committees and three select committees. Seniority, geographic and demographic diversity, and a member’s expertise are considered when making committee appointments. The House committees where women’s health issues may be referred will be Public Health and State Affairs committees. Other important committees that will impact the Legislature’s discussions and decisions will be Appropriations and Calendars. Funding of programs relating to women’s health are dealt with by Appropriations, and Calendars will schedules bills to be debated on the floor.
Senate Committees Impacting Women’s Healthcare
Senate committee assignments were appointed earlier in January and the Senate Finance committee has met regularly since. Testimony from agencies in the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) was heard—Commissioner Kyle Janek testified on Article II of the budget—the article dealing with Health and Human Services.
When speaking of the primary care physician rate increase provided by the Affordable Care Act, Commissioner Janek stressed that OB/GYNs are primary care providers, opening the door for them to be eligible for this increase. We thank Dr. Janek for this recognition! The care provided a woman by her OB/GYN is crucial to her overall health.