State leaders have made progress over the past several weeks to address the public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. CPPP and our partners have advocated for urgent action and we’ve seen positive movement, including the following wins for Texas families:
- Texas has accepted federal funding for COVID-19 testing for the uninsured and taken other positive steps to ensure better access to testing and treatment;
- Texas received federal approval to enact the Pandemic electronic benefit transfer (EBT) program to replace the value of free and reduced-price meals children missed when schools were closed due to COVID-19; and
- We’re keeping more Texas kids enrolled in Children’s Medicaid by temporarily suspending inaccurate mid-year eligibility reviews that were kicking kids off health coverage who were still eligible.
Too many Texans, however, are struggling to make ends meet, and still facing barriers to the testing and care they need. Here are the next five actions that state and federal officials should take immediately to support Texans during this continuing crisis.
- The Texas Workforce Commission should continue to clarify their rules so that Texans don’t have to choose between their safety and their paychecks.
- Governor Abbott should accept billions in federal funds to provide comprehensive Medicaid health coverage to uninsured Texas adults below the poverty line, now estimated to have swollen to over 1.1 million as over 2 million have newly applied for Unemployment relief.
- The Trump Administration should re-open Marketplace enrollment for health insurance by creating a new, streamlined Special Enrollment Period, as leaders have done in previous disasters.
- To fight record levels of hunger, Texas lawmakers should urge Congress and the White House to increase SNAP benefits by 15 percent for all households to better reflect the cost of an adequate diet.
- Congress should quickly pass the “The Heroes Act,” to fix gaps in the paid sick days and paid leave provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act and provide much-needed help for struggling families and state and local governments.
This crisis will have long-lasting ramifications and has exposed long-standing disparities and policy failures that have left some Texans with fewer protections against the health and economic hardships of the pandemic.
CPPP will continue to work with lawmakers to craft smart public policy and fight for our communities, frontline essential workers, and our most vulnerable neighbors.