The regular 85th Texas Legislative Session has come to an end. This was a difficult session, and uncertainties remain about what’s next for the state across a range of issues. However, there were several bright spots for women’s healthcare this session. Stay tuned for a comprehensive recap of the 85th legislative session later this month; below you can find a few highlights.
- The state budget for the 2018-19 biennium includes level funding for the state’s women’s health programs. In a tough fiscal climate where many health and human services programs experienced substantial cuts, this represents a significant victory for family planning programs.
- The state budget also assumes Texas will receive a federal 1115 Family Planning Waiver for FY 2019, allowing the state to draw down $90 million in federal matching funds for the Healthy Texas Women program. Legislators have indicated their intent is to maintain both the Healthy Texas Women and Family Planning programs regardless of whether the state receives a waiver, but the TWHC will be closely monitoring this process to ensure continuity of care for Texas women. See below for more information on the 1115 Waiver and opportunities to provide input.
- The state budget also includes a number of relevant riders, including ones that: modify the reporting required for the state’s women’s health programs; require a five-year strategic plan to reduce barriers to LARC; require a study of the feasibility of auto-enrolling clients into HTW when they age out of CHIP and Children’s Medicaid; require additional reporting on postpartum depression and evaluation of treatment options; and direct the state to review trends, rates, or disparities in pregnancy-related deaths and evaluate options for reducing maternal mortality.
- Bills have also been sent to the Governor that extend the Women’s Health Advisory Committee until September 2019, and that allow maternal depression screenings during a well-child visit.