The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Nearly 90 percent of Texans say health insurance companies should be required to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. That’s according to a new survey. More than 1,200 people in the state were interviewed over the phone about a range of health care issues.
Elena Marks is president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation, which released the report. She says the organization wanted to ask people about their stance on pre-existing conditions since Texas recently led an effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, which would dismantle those protections. She says the state needs an alternative plan if it doesn’t think the ACA is the right solution.
“It’s incumbent upon Texas to come up with its own solution for protecting pre-existing conditions because prior to the ACA, Texas did not protect pre-existing conditions,” Marks says.
This past December, a federal judge in Fort Worth sided with Texas, and found the ACA unconstitutional. However, the law remains in place amid ongoing legal action.
The survey also found that more than half of all Texans support increasing state spending on health care programs, and 64 percent want the state to expand Medicaid. Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, is one of 14 states that still has not expanded the program.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Austin bombings, which killed two people and injured four others. One of the victims was 17-year-old Draylen Mason who, among other things, was a double bass player in several orchestras. Claire McInerny with KUT News reports one of the groups he played in, the Austin Youth Orchestra, dedicated its spring concert to Draylen.
The Austin Youth Orchestra warms up before their spring concert, which they are dedicating to Draylen Mason. Mason was a double bassist in the orchestra, and was killed a year ago from an explosive delivered to his home during the bombings. pic.twitter.com/vxYZEF7sj2
— Claire McInerny (@ClaireMcInerny) March 3, 2019
Draylen was waiting for college acceptance notices to music schools when he died. Oberlin Conservatory of Music announced he had been accepted – something he never knew. It was a testament to his talent as a musician, but at Sunday’s concert, many of the musicians were remembering his personality.
Andre Plackis is a 17-year-old cellist in the Austin Youth Orchestra. He said in a competitive orchestra, Draylen always reminded him about the fun parts of being a musician.
“He enjoyed to goof around a lot. And for me, when I’m practicing and with people, it shouldn’t just be about, OK, you’re playing a little bit flat, you’re playing a little bit sharp. It’s OK, let’s have some fun with this, let’s make something great,” [Plackis says].
Many musicians recalled his infectious smile and how he had the ability to make anyone feel welcome.
One of the top priorities of the 2019 Texas Legislative Session is reworking how the state funds public schools. And Tuesday, the Texas House will unveil its highly anticipated school finance reform bill.
State Rep. Dan Huberty, a Houston-area Republican, chairs the House Public Education Committee. In a video posted on Twitter last week, Huberty told fellow House member Trey Martinez Fischer he’s confidant a bill will pass this year.
“And you know, I’ve been around trying to change this now for 10 years, so I feel like we’re going to get it done this time; it is exciting and it is meaningful reform,” Huberty said.
Yesterday I met with Chairman @DanHuberty of the House Public Ed Committee, who is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the House public education plan. Tune in to today’s #UnderTheDome to hear more about the plan! #txlege #txed pic.twitter.com/FiCCgIpJ8D
— TMF (@TMFtx) March 1, 2019
Huberty added the House will start hearing public testimony on the bill next week.