State of Texas: In-Depth – A doctor’s view on health care

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – As the health care debate heats up again in Washington, one of the most powerful Democrats came to Austin and signaled willingness to make a deal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi toured the new Dell Seton Teaching Hospital with Congressman Lloyd Doggett. She told reporters that Democrats would fight a GOP proposal to give states waivers to rules that require health insurance to cover a list of essential benefits, like prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health services.  But Pelosi suggested there is room for compromise.  “Once he takes repeal off the table, we can talk” Pelosi said, referring to President Trump.  “We know how we can make some accommodations,” she added.

Many Texas lawmakers have a different view. “I think the status quo is unacceptable,” State Sen. Dawn Buckingham told KXAN host Josh Hinkle on Sunday morning’s State of Texas. The Texas Senate passed a resolution from Sen. Buckingham (R- Lakeway) which calls for an immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “It’s time to move forward to a program that will be more patient-centered and help folks,” Buckingham said.

Sen. Buckingham is an eye doctor and she said she’s seen the problems some patients have with the current system. “What we’ve learned is that an insurance card does not equal care,” Buckingham said, explaining that high deductibles and narrow networks can prevent patients from getting the care they need.  She shared the message with President Trump in March, when he invited her to take part in a White House health panel. “My message to him is kind of the same that was in the Senate resolution.  Let’s get it repealed.”

Buckingham is one of eight women serving in the Texas Senate.  Just 29 of the 150 Texas House members are women. Dallas Morning News journalists Brandi Grissom and Lauren McGaughy started the “What She Said” project this legislative session to highlight those women lawmakers.

“We really wanted to put a spotlight on what it’s like to be a woman in a legislature dominated by men,” McGaughy said.  “What She Said” features long-form interviews with women lawmakers, with the video posted to Facebook. “It’s kind of like an ice breaker for us … with some lawmakers that might have a little bit of cold feet about the media these days,” McGaughy said.  She described the conversational approach to the interviews as “sit on a couch and kind of kick our heels off and just chat.”

“They bring a different perspective to the Capitol than men do,” Grissom said of the lawmakers she’s interviewed. “They carry a different load, a different role at home and that transitions through to their work life.”

You can see the interviews on State of Texas, Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. on KXAN.

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