News Roundup: Survey Shows Texas Women Struggle To Pay For Health Care

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 24, 2018 1:30 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

More Texas women have a harder time affording health care than men, and that holds true across different incomes and racial and ethnic groups. That’s according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Women were more likely to say they, or someone in their household, had forgone or postponed care due to cost. That includes skipping a dental visit, not filling a prescription or getting mental-health services.

Elena Marks, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation, says the results aren’t surprising.

“One of the things we hear a lot is that women put their families, particularly their children before themselves, so if they’re going to have to scrimp or cut back on health care, they’re going to cut back their own to make sure others are served before they are served,” Marks says.

The survey also found that a lot of women and men want to see the state legislature spend more on health-care programs, with 59 percent of women expressing support compared to 50 percent of men.

The biggest gap in support is between Republican women and men.

“Among Republicans, only about a third – a little less than a third – 29 percent of men said that they favor increased state spending on health care, while 51 percent – more than half of Republican women – said that,” Marks says.

In comparison, majorities of women and men who identify as Democrats and independents say Texas lawmakers should increase spending on health-care programs.

Seven women are now joining the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, which was formed in 1984 by the Governor’s Commission for Women.

The 2018 honorees include: former First Lady of the United States and Texas, Laura Bush; the most-decorated gymnast in American history, Simone Biles; and Tammie Jo Shults, the Southwest Airlines pilot who, earlier this year, landed a plane after one of its engines exploded.

An induction ceremony will be held at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin on Jan. 17.

Child welfare officials tell state lawmakers they’re seeing lower turnover rates and caseloads after increased funding and new bills passed during the 2017 legislative session.

Hank Whitman heads the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, or DFPS. He noted some improvements during his testimony before the House Human Services Committee on Tuesday, including a six-percent increase in kinship placements.

“Reunification is up by 7 percent, adoptions within 12 months are up by five percent, and permanency with relatives is up by three percent. This may sound like minor improvements but it’s encouraging to see even incremental growth in long-term outcomes for children,” Whitman said.

DFPS officials also updated state lawmakers on a class-action lawsuit involving foster care. Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a lower court that found the foster-care system violates the constitutional rights of children, and that Texas will need to make major improvements. The agency says it has until the end of October to file new briefs with the lower court, before the judge updates her final order in the case.