Health

Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In less than two months, Austin will have a $310 million teaching hospital on UT Austin’s medical campus.

The hospital is part of a long-term deal struck between the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Central Health, Seton and Travis County voters in 2012. The agreement led to a tax increase to pay for a medical school and set aside land for a new hospital.

Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman

After the failure of the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, there’s a new political landscape, and states across the country with Republican-led legislatures are weighing their options when it comes to Medicaid expansion. 

Conservative states – most recently Kansas — see an opening to extend health care to more low-income adults. But it’s unclear whether Texas – a state that has more uninsured people than any other state in the country – is willing to hop on the bandwagon.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For more than a year now, health officials have been trying to improve access to long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as IUDs, for women who want them. But there have been some pretty big hurdles, particularly at hospitals in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This summer, it will be a year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a strict abortion law in Texas. Half of the state’s abortion providers closed after the 2013 law, known as House Bill 2, went into effect.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

More than 1.2 million Texans are signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace. That’s the part of Obamacare that allows companies to sell plans directly to individuals. Under the GOP replacement bill working its way through Congress, there could be big changes to how the government helps these individuals pay for their plans.


Many in Texas are keeping a close eye on the Republican bid to replace the Affordable Care Act. One of the big changes is how it would affect low-income people, seniors, and people with disabilities who get help from Medicaid. And people on both sides of the political spectrum say the Lone Star State is not going to fare well.

As the GOP bill, the American Health Care Act, works its way through Congress, Anne Dunkelberg with the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin says she's a little stumped.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Medicaid in Texas is facing possible cuts from both the state and federal governments.

According to health care advocates, the Texas Senate is proposing a budget that underfunds Medicaid by at least $1.9 billion.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The federal health insurance marketplace has been a big help to startups in Austin in the past few years. It's giving tech workers the ability to buy health insurance when their fledgling employers are too small to provide benefits.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

With talk of Republicans in Congress repealing the health care law in the coming months, this could be the last time the health insurance marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act, can offer Texans insurance.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has extended his injunction against the Texas fetal burial rule. Judge Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled Friday that he wants to hold a trial to determine whether the rule requiring health care providers to cremate or bury fetal remains is constitutional. 

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

It’s light on details, but so far the Trump administration has proposed one big change to how we pay for health care in the U.S. President Trump wants to turn the federal Medicaid program into a block grant system. This basically means states would get a fixed amount of money from the feds to run the program themselves.

Courtesy of Jesse McCrum

People keep secrets for a lot of reasons. Imagine not feeling like you could share something fundamental about yourself with the people in your life. That’s the situation for many people diagnosed with a mental illness. They fear the misunderstanding, judgment or rejection that could come with sharing the details of their situation with others.  

Austin Clubhouse provides rehabilitation and support for adults who have severe and persistent mental illness, with treatment that focuses on quality of life issues. Member Jesse McCrum sat down with KUT to discuss his experience and the impact the Clubhouse has had on his life. 

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

About a month ago, cuts to a state Medicaid program providing therapy to children with disabilities and developmental delays went into effect.

Child advocates have warned the cuts would put access to care in jeopardy and, as the cuts continue roll out, both lawyers and advocates are keeping an eye out for children who are experiencing gaps in care.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance exchange ends Jan. 31. For many Texans who don’t get their insurance through an employer, this has been an affordable way to get a policy in the state for the past few years.

But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, this could be the last year it’s an option.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Federal lawmakers have set their sights on repealing the Affordable Care Act as quickly as possible. According to a new study, if they succeed, Texas could lose thousands of jobs in the coming years, but it could be more than just health care jobs.

Allison Shelley for Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: As he considers a final ruling on the state's fetal remains burial rule, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks is delaying the start date of the rule for at least another three weeks.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas abortion providers are facing off against state officials in court today.

In hearings today and Wednesday,  providers will ask a federal judge to strike down the state's fetal burial rule, which requires medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains following a miscarriage or abortion, regardless of how long a woman has been pregnant.

flickr/jamesjordan

There could be Zika cases in Texas we missed this year, according to experts in the state. That became clearer after health officials closely monitored a small area in South Texas earlier this month and found several additional cases of locally-transmitted Zika.

A couple weeks ago, Cameron County reported the first-known locally-transmitted case of Zika in Texas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Texas officials are trying again to take state funding away from Planned Parenthood in Texas. This time, they are kicking the chain of women’s health clinics out of the state’s Medicaid program, which could affect roughly 11,000 Medicaid recipients across the state.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

A federal judge has temporarily halted the Texas fetal burial rule from going into effect on Dec. 19.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Statewide funding cuts to therapies for young children with developmental delays go into effect today. Some state lawmakers have vowed to reverse cuts during the legislative session next year. But until that reversal happens, Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) providers are going to have a hard time keeping their doors open.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Abortion providers are hoping to stop a new rule that would require health care facilities to cremate or bury fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions, regardless of the gestation time or a woman’s wishes.

Eric Schlegel for the Texas Tribune

The Center for Reproductive Rights announced it is filing a federal lawsuit today against the State of Texas over a rule set to go into effect Dec. 19. The rule requires abortion providers and hospitals to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions – regardless of gestation time or a woman’s wishes.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A program that helped women in rural parts of Texas navigate the state’s complicated health care system is being phased-out next year.  That’s even though a new study out of UT Austin shows the program helped increase breast and cervical cancer screenings in those areas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The State of Texas is moving forward with a rule requiring abortion providers and hospitals to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions. Groups are already gearing up to possibly sue the state over this rule, but the state could have a tough time defending it.

While the HIV/AIDS epidemic no longer looks as menacing as it did in the 1980s and '90s, efforts to stop the spread of the disease have hit a brick wall.

James Gathany/CDC

Texas officials have announced the first in-state transmission of the Zika virus in Texas. In a statement released this afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services said there was a “very likely” chance a Zika case in the Rio Grande Valley originated from a mosquito in the area. The Cameron County woman, who was not named, is not pregnant and has not visited any places with active Zika transmission, the department said.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: Faced with a rising death toll from opioid abuse, Texas public health officials in May decided to apply for a $1 million federal grant to purchase Naloxone, a drug that, if administered during an overdose, can save the life of a person addicted to heroin or pain pills. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The fourth open enrollment period for the federal health insurance program is in full swing. People who can’t get insurance through an employer, Medicaid or Medicare can now buy private insurance through the Affordable Care Act until Jan. 31.

But there’s some uncertainty about the program’s future this time around.

Some tiny clusters of brain cells grown in a lab dish are making big news at this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

Known as "minibrains," these rudimentary networks of cells are small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but already are providing researchers with insights into everything from early brain development to Down syndrome, Alzheimer's and Zika.

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