Governor Abbot's primary policy thrust regarding health care has been 1) to refuse to accept Medicaid funds associated with the ACA that would have provided healthcare to millions of Texans; and 2) to push for and succeed, with the help of a Republican State Senate, in closing scores of women's clinics across the state; clinics that provide low cost cancer screenings, reproductive services etc., again resulting in millions of Texans losing access to life saving health care. What would you do in your role of State Senator to address the problem of access to healthcare that now confront our citizens, especially Texas women.
Response Received by Dec 22
While we have a range of challenges ahead of us, healthcare – specifically women’s healthcare – has been my number one issue since day 1.
I’ve used Planned Parenthood since I was a teenager as my regular women’s health care provider. They provided me with the low cost screenings and birth control I needed to stay healthy, were always there if I had questions, and their care was impeccable. I remember distinctly as the prices started going up. And then the clinic I normally went to closed. And then the ones near it closed. How can Texan women expect to stay healthy and safe when 148 counties in Texas have no obstetrician/gynecologist? How do we expect babies to stay healthy and safe when mothers can’t get adequate prenatal or postpartum care? Texas boasts not only the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, but skyrocketing rates of infant mortality, teen pregnancies, unplanned pregnancies, repeat teen pregnancies, and medicaid births. These are not good metrics. We must do better to support our women, our mothers, and our babies.
To do this, we must expand medicaid. As I’ve said in previous posts, this will not only insure tens of thousands more Texans (Texas is currently home to the highest number of people without health insurance) but will provide a tremendous boost to both our economy and our budget. This will be a win-win-win for Texas.
We must make women’s healthcare clinics more widely available, with a particular emphasis on regular health screenings, access to birth control, and adequate sexual education. The budget cuts and legislation against these clinics and healthcare providers which occurred under Governors Perry and Abbott must be reversed.
We must push for sexual education in schools that is comprehensive and not abstinence-only. When we arm our young people with the knowledge they need to make good choices, everyone has more opportunities.
Finally, we must recognize that dangers facing Texan women like maternal mortality are a social justice issue: black women die after childbirth at three times the rate that white women do. It’s time to make sure women of all colors and in all neighborhoods have access to the same high quality hospitals and regular preventative healthcare needed to ward off poor health outcomes.
It is our duty to protect all Texans, not just the privileged few. It’s time to use the tools already widely available to us to do that.