We have a number of concerns about the health and human services budget that legislators are currently writing. For example, the initial draft of the budget doesn't cover the growing number of babies and toddlers expected in Early Childhood Intervention. And legislators still have not reversed the Medicaid cuts to therapies for kids with disabilities, although the House has at least pledged to fix it in a "supplemental" budget bill and included a partial restoration in its proposed budget for the next two years. Meanwhile, the Senate budget bill raises multiple concerns. Notably, it fails to fully fund Medicaid and proposes a $1 billion across-the-board cut. For its part, the House proposal includes a worrisome $100 million Medicaid "cost containment" cut.
The good news is that we're early in the budget-writing process, and there's still time to speak to legislators about these concerns, the importance of using the Rainy Day Fund to avoid cutting services, and the need to fund mental health, women's health, foster care, and other priorities.
To raise your voice this week regarding health and human services funding, you can:
1. Testify Thursday at the House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on health and human services funding.
2. Call these legislators, who are on the House Subcommittee and the Senate workgroup currently addressing this critical section of the budget:
Rep. Sarah Davis, Chair (R-Houston) 512-463-0389
Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-League City) 512-463-0729
Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) 512-463-0506
Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (D-Mission) 512-463-0704
Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston) 512-463-0496
Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) 512-463-0628
Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) 512-463-0492
Sen. Charles Schwertner, Chair (R-Georgetown & Bryan) 512-463-0105
Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Waco) 512-463-0122
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) 512-463-0118
Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) 512-463-0119
Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) 512-463-0114
Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) 512-463-0117
Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) 512-463-0103
Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) 512-463-0115
3. Tweet to these legislators. Click on their names above to reach their Twitter profiles.