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Texas House votes down budget amendment aimed at giving health coverage to more uninsured Texans

Texas House votes down budget amendment aimed at giving health coverage to more uninsured Texans

The Texas House rejected an attempt Thursday to direct the governor and state health officials to use billions in federal dollars to expand health care coverage for uninsured Texans, including working poor who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford their own health insurance.On a vote of 80-68, lawmakers voted down the proposal, which was floated as a two-page amendment to the Thursday.The debate, which was highly anticipated by advocates of expanding coverage for uninsured Texans, was expected to be heated and drawn out. It lasted less than 20 minutes.Proponents...

Apr 22
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Medicaid expansion picks up bipartisan support in the Texas House, but hurdles remain

Medicaid expansion picks up bipartisan support in the Texas House, but hurdles remain

When a neighbor’s dog nipped her hand near the fingernail last winter, Trish W. put off going to the doctor because it didn’t seem worth the dent it would put in her already tight budget.It wasn’t until her hand swelled to the point where her finger nearly burst that she finally gave in.The doctor told Trish, a 33-year-old from Canyon Lake who has a genetic blood disorder that hinders her ability to fight bacteria, that she’d narrowly escaped deadly sepsis and that she could have lost her hand. The hospital kept her overnight to be sure. She later received a $2,000 bill that she couldn’t...

Apr 21
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Texans hit hardest by coronavirus are facing another challenge: the pause on the J&J vaccine

Texans hit hardest by coronavirus are facing another challenge: the pause on the J&J vaccine

Today was the day that hundreds of college students at Texas Tech University and up to 1,500 others in Lubbock, one of last year’s , were going to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.Today was also the day that some members of the Petersburg Mission Baptist Church, a Black church in the rural Texas community of Athens, were going to be fully vaccinated.And in Corpus Christi, a city-sponsored effort was about to get underway in the coming days to vaccinate the city’s homeless population.All of that was upended when providers across Texas paused usage of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson...

Apr 14
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Keep wearing your mask, health officials say after Gov. Greg Abbott lifts mask mandate

Keep wearing your mask, health officials say after Gov. Greg Abbott lifts mask mandate

Need to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? Our evening roundup will help you stay on top of the day's latest updates.Keep wearing your mask and taking COVID-19 safety precautions, local health experts said Tuesday, after Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was lifting the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on businesses.“Despite the impending removal of the state mask mandate, we must continue our vigilance with masking, distancing, and hand washing,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Travis County Interim Health Authority. “These remain critical in our ongoing fight against COVID-19.”Expressing...

Mar 2
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Keep wearing your mask, health officials say after Gov. Greg Abbott lifts mask mandate

Keep wearing your mask, health officials say after Gov. Greg Abbott lifts mask mandate

Need to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? Our evening roundup will help you stay on top of the day's latest updates.Keep wearing your mask and taking COVID-19 safety precautions, local health experts said Tuesday, after Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was lifting the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on businesses.“Despite the impending removal of the state mask mandate, we must continue our vigilance with masking, distancing, and hand washing,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Travis County Interim Health Authority. “These remain critical in our ongoing fight against COVID-19.”Expressing...

Mar 2
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Texas has a problem with its COVID-19 vaccination data, and the stakes are high. Now the state is scrambling to solve it.

Texas has a problem with its COVID-19 vaccination data, and the stakes are high. Now the state is scrambling to solve it.

After the staff at Austin’s Tarrytown Pharmacy hustled to vaccinate 500 vulnerable Texans and front-line workers over the holidays, pharmacist Rannon Ching logged into an online state system used to track the vaccines.Then he panicked.According to the system, his Tarrytown pharmacy hadn’t vaccinated anyone. The numbers on his screen indicated all 500 doses were still sitting on his shelf.“I freaked out thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re not going to give me any [more] doses because they think I’m not giving anything,’” Ching said.As the state began the massive undertaking of distributing the...

Jan 20
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As COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Texas' hard-hit border areas, experts warn vaccinated people could still spread virus

As COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Texas' hard-hit border areas, experts warn vaccinated people could still spread virus

EL PASO — Hospitals in some of Texas' hardest-hit border counties began vaccinating health care workers against COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing what one health authority called "cautious hope" to a heavily Hispanic, economically distressed region whose communities have been traumatized by infections and deaths at disproportionately high rates throughout the pandemic.Some 15,600 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived Tuesday at hospitals in El Paso and Edinburg, and more will land in Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville and El Paso later this week.At UT Health RGV in Edinburg, in the Rio Grande...

December 16, 2020
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Crystal Mason, jailed for illegal voting after casting provisional ballot, seeks to have conviction overturned

Crystal Mason, jailed for illegal voting after casting provisional ballot, seeks to have conviction overturned

Editor’s note: This coverage is made possible through , a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. The article is available for reprint under the terms of .A Fort Worth woman in the 2016 presidential election while on supervised release for a federal conviction is asking the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn her conviction on illegal voting charges, according to legal documents filed Monday.Crystal Mason said she cast her ballot — which, like most provisional ballots, was ultimately not counted — on the advice of a poll worker. Mason told...

December 1, 2020
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Texas Democrats have failed to pass voter access legislation for years. The pandemic may change that.

Texas Democrats have failed to pass voter access legislation for years. The pandemic may change that.

Editor’s note: This coverage is made possible through , a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. The article is available for reprint under the terms of .Lawmakers and voting rights groups have been fighting over updates to Texas’ election systems for years, but issues heightened by the coronavirus pandemic have launched a new conversation over voter access.This January, primarily Democratic lawmakers heading into the next legislative session are honing in on problems like an unprecedented flood of mail-in ballots and applications , and a lack of...

November 27, 2020
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Despite record turnout, some Texas voters were still shut out

Despite record turnout, some Texas voters were still shut out

Editor’s note: This coverage is made possible through , a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. The article is available for reprint under the terms of .Despite doing everything she could to cast a ballot, Wanda Kizzee was left out of the biggest election of her lifetime.“It’s very frustrating because I felt like my right to be heard was stripped from me by no fault of my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to vote, or anything like that. I really wanted to vote, and it was just taken away from me,” said Kizzee, 55, a travel nurse whose ballot...

November 6, 2020
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