Progress! Some State Cuts Shelved, But Many Still on the Table

Thank you to everyone who raised their voices over the last several weeks against the proposed state cuts to health services!

As you may have seen in the media coverage across Texas this week, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has removed women’s health services, Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for toddlers with disabilities, and other direct health services from the list of potential cuts this year.


This is an important step forward. We’re very grateful to HHSC, our partners, everyday Texans who joined with us to stop these cuts, and the legislators who worked to block cuts to those services, including Senator Jane Nelson, Senator José Menéndez, Rep. Sarah Davis, Rep. Donna Howard, and others.

However, the state’s top elected leaders are still directing HHSC and other state agencies to propose significant cuts. As a result, the new proposal, like the original one, cuts $131 million in general revenue health funding (and $208 million in All Funds). It reaches that target through the “lapsed funding” that HHSC held back in the recently completed fiscal year and several proposed cuts that could hurt kids and families. For example, the new proposal: 

  • Makes cuts that will likely create delays for Texans signing up for Healthy Texas Women, Medicaid for Pregnant Women, Children’s Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP food stamps. Specifically, the revised HHSC proposal calls for reduced or delayed hiring for 742 eligibility and enrollment staff positions. In the proposal, HHSC warns that the cuts would make it harder to reach federal standards for enrolling families in a timely manner. These cuts would be a bad idea at any time, but they would be particularly harmful now as the state’s worst-in-the-nation uninsured rate climbs even higher for kids and adults.
  • Makes cuts to oversight and safety inspections that the agency warns could pose dangers by “[d]elaying timely investigations of allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation” as well as undermining child care safety. More details are needed to understand if these proposed cuts would lead to even more lax oversight of foster care safety — a problem that has already been linked to child deaths and led federal courts to call for additional state funding for foster care oversight.
  • Cuts “program administration” of health services. While the new proposal removes direct cuts to “client services” such as women’s health and ECI, it still indirectly hits those programs by cutting the behind-the-scenes efforts that make them function. Among the potential consequences of these cuts, HHSC warned that they could “delay support for clients and providers” and “decrease contract oversight effectiveness.”

We will continue working with state leaders and partners to stop the health cuts outlined in the new proposal and to ensure that cuts for kids and families are not on the table during the upcoming legislative session. Given the challenges that families and communities were facing before the pandemic — and the way the pandemic and jobs crisis have exacerbated those challenges — we encourage state leaders to fully fund these critical programs and use other available tools to resolve the state’s revenue shortfall.

We look forward to working with you to get the job done.