WOMEN’S COUNCIL OF DALLAS COUNTY
Health and Human Services Coalition
PRIORITIES for 83rd STATE LEGISLATURE
Download Priorities here.
MEDICAID EXPANSION IN TEXAS AND MAINTAIN CURRENT MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT RATES:
The latest census shows that 6.1
million Texans were uninsured in 2011 including 1.2 million children under 19.
Texas predicts that with moderate enrollment success, insurance gains under ACA
would cut Texas’ uninsured in half (approximately 3 million). Without that
expansion, our uninsured rate would leave 4,358,033 uninsured, or 17.3%. The
state’s cost for the adult Medicaid expansion totals $1.3 billion GR, drawing
down another $25.3 billion in federal match. Medicaid expenditures lead to
substantial economic activity, federal funds inflow, reduction in the costs of
uncompensated care and insurance, and enhanced productivity from a healthier
population. If Texas does not expand Medicaid coverage, the uninsured will
continue using expensive hospital emergency rooms. Current funding levels for
Medicaid should not be cut. We cannot risk losing more doctors who accept
Medicaid patients or the closing of skilled nursing facilities.
FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION:
The Texas Legislature should restore
the $5.4 billion cut from public education funding in the last biennium and
increase funding to cover population growth in the public school population.
Public schools need these resources to prepare students for jobs that pay a
living wage and provide them with skills to compete in a technology based
workplace. Today’s students also need learning skills to attain and upgrade job
certifications to compete in future job markets. Cutting funds for public
schools increases the dropout rate. People who don’t graduate from high school
face a lifetime of limited earnings and are more likely to be
incarcerated. For a strong Texas where
jobs are plentiful and industry and commerce thrive, funding for public
education must be increased.
ACCESS TO NUTRITIOUS FOOD TO ALLEVIATE FOOD INSECURITY:
Texas is in the top eight states for
food insecure households. It is critical that state leaders support policies
that allow vulnerable populations access to nutritious food. For seniors, the
Legislature should fully fund the Department of Agriculture’s home delivered
meals program at $18 million. For children, the Legislature should implement
school breakfast programs for schools where at least 80% of students are on
free or reduced lunch. For low income families, the Legislature should ensure
resources for an effective SNAP eligibility system as well as funding for SNAP
application assistance and outreach activities. The unnecessary SNAP asset test
should be removed.
FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS:
Texas ranks at the bottom of all
states in mental health funding. Jails and prisons are still the main providers
of behavioral health care and many in need are homeless, wandering the streets
and using expensive emergency room care for crises. Community based services
have demonstrated their effectiveness. It costs about $137 per prison inmate
per day, compared with about $12 per patient per day for community based care.
Texas economist Ray Perryman estimates that Texas receives a return on
investment of $23 for every $1 spent. Funding should be restored to 2009
levels, with increases for population growth.
FOR THE COMMUNITY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM:
In 2011, the Texas Legislature cut
funding for the Community Youth Development Program (CYD) by 36%. The CYD
Program prevents youth ages 8-18 from arrest at a cost of $500 per youth per
year. If these youth don’t have the benefit of the CYD non-school hour programs
and get arrested, it costs $61,000 per child and they have a juvenile crime
record the rest of their lives. The CYD has proven successful in promoting the
development of children who stay out of gangs, stay in school and become self-sufficient
adults. In the Dallas area, the CYD has served 1200 youth each year for
fourteen years (16,800 children) and only 3 have been arrested! The program
operates in zip codes with the highest juvenile crime rates. Full funding
should be restored.
Contact information for Dallas City Council.