2023 Texas Legislative Session Update
June 9, 2023
Any Baby Can has been hard at work behind the scenes of the 2023 Texas legislative session advocating for issues that impact our clients and services.
We worked closely with advocacy groups, such as TexProtects, Texans Care for Children, and the National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First.
Our staff serves on coalitions year-round and collectively works with other statewide stakeholders to address issues around early intervention, family health and home-visiting programs.
Increased Budget for Services for Children with Disabilities
One unique role we play is around education. We inform legislators on the challenges facing families each day, since we have a first-hand view of how families need and benefit from services for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Any Baby Can is a provider of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services in Central Texas. These in-home therapies like speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and more help children with developmental delays and medical diagnoses reach their full potential.
Guillermo Lopez, our ECI Senior Director, testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee on the significant impact of these life-changing therapies and services. With the growing demand and rising costs to provide those services, Guillermo urged legislators to prioritize increasing the funding per child. In addition, he advocated for the need to track ECI enrollment growth to improve forecasting and avoid future gaps in funding for essential services.
Natalia Castillo, mom of a former ECI client, also shared her powerful story to the Senate Committee on Finance. She talked about her daughter's remarkable journey from birth to today and how ECI services positively impacted their lives.
ECI services across Texas received a $57 million increase in the initial draft of the state budget and an extra $6 million on top of that, thanks to a budget amendment in April.
This win is a significant step forward, and while there is still work to be done, we are excited about this progress and enjoyed meeting legislators who are ECI champions.
Good News and Bad News for Home Visitation Programs
Any Baby Can nurses gathered at the capitol in February to meet with legislators and share impactful stories from current and former clients of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program.
Through House Resolution 280, Texas House Representatives recognized our nurses for their dedication and tremendous support in ensuring the health and well-being of mothers and their children.
The good news is that the legislature approved money for all three home visiting programs: Texas NFP, Texas Home Visiting, and HOPES (Healthy Outcomes through Prevention & Early Support). We received $4 million for Texas Nurse-Family Partnership; however, that is a $1.2 million decrease in terms of funds compared to the last session.
Extended Medicaid Coverage for Moms
Once again, we supported an extension of Medicaid insurance coverage for pregnant women, which was set at six months post-partum following the 2021 legislative session. 1 in 4 women of childbearing age in Texas are uninsured. We advocated for a full year of coverage after pregnancy to ensure that new mothers can access comprehensive health coverage and medical care during this crucial time.
Veronda L. Durden, President & Chief Executive Officer of Any Baby Can, met with legislators to inform them of the importance of passing House Bill 12 to ensure moms get the coverage they need.
The legislative session ended with bipartisan approval from the House and Senate on HB 12 which extends Medicaid health insurance for moms to 12 months after pregnancy instead of just six months. The bill has been sent to Governor Greg Abbott to sign.
“This is great news for Texas women! Texas is taking a critical step forward in supporting healthy moms and babies,” said Veronda.
Any Baby Can will continue engaging with the Texas House of Representatives, Senate, and local government as it is critical to strengthening families in our community and across the state.
For a more comprehensive recap of legislative bills and resolutions facing Texas children, read the preliminary legislative report from Texans Care for Children.
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Improving funding for early intervention, Medicaid eligibility, and access to home-visiting services.