5 Things Texas: Life expectancy by zip, Ryan Mooney, #TribFest19

So far in 2019, we’ve have published 704 independent stories at State of Reform, where we cover health policy and health care in nine states in the west.  In Texas, our team has authored or posted 58 stories on Texas health care and health policy. All of our journalism is funded through the success of our conferences in DFW and in Austin – rather than an impression-based model.

It’s our hope that our content – like our conferences – is thoughtful, analytical, and insightful as a result. So, thanks for reading our stuff. Tell a friend or two to sign up for the newsletter, which is always a big help!


With help from Emily Viles

1. ACA and the courts

A new Supreme Court term is scheduled to begin October 7th and run through summer 2020. SCOTUS is set to tackle a number of tough issues including an aspect of the ACA’s three premium stabilization package, the risk corridor program. Oral arguments are likely to begin in December.

In the meantime, the ongoing proceedings in Texas v. Azar remain a potential existential threat to the law. Reporter Emily Viles caught up with Hall Render Attorney Keith Dugger to hear his take on the latest ACA proceedings. When asked if he believed the ACA would be repealed he stated: “I would be surprised if they were to completely rule the entire law unconstitutional.”


2. Highlights from our North Texas Conference

We recently hosted our 2019 North Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference with about 250 attendees. We had folks from across heath care to speak to some of the most complex issues in health care policy and reform. As always, the hallway conversations were as useful as the panel discussions and keynote conversations were. You can check out the highlights in this short reel.

Our Morning Keynote session featured conversations with three unique leader: Fred Schuster, Regional Director at HHS; Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge; and Fred Cerise, CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System. At lunch, we hosted a moderated conversation with some of the most thoughtful leaders in health care. And, in the afternoon, Ed Simcox, joined us to discuss HHS’s vision for technology driven reform.


3. Life expectancy depends on where you live

According to a new interactive map from Episcopal Health Foundation, income levels, educational attainment, and neighborhood racial composition had the most dramatic effects on life expectancy. Despite some Texas neighborhoods only being miles apart, the life expectancy of residents varies by 17 years in some areas.

The median life expectancy across the state is 77.8 years. The report found that there is a sizeable 11-year difference between the life expectancy in the bottom 5% of neighborhoods at 72.1 years, and the top 5% at 83.3 years. CEO of EHP encourages the report to “spark important conversations across the state on how we can all take action to address the non-medical, root causes of these dramatic differences in health.”


4. Video: Ryan Mooney, HMA

Ryan Mooney is a Senior Consultant at Health Management Associates. Mooney has been instrumental in consulting on a number of issues in several states, including Medicaid and CHIP Funding. He joins us for this addition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss the importance of 1332 waivers in Texas.

“There’s been a lot in terms of allowing states to get an easier road to apply to the federal government and to CMS for 1332s. I think that works here in Texas because Texas has a lot of different challenges that other states don’t have. I mean it’s a very unique state, and that’s the kind of thing that, you know, Texas would probably benefit from long term – looking at ways that the different federal rules could be tailored to meet the needs of the state.”


5. Health care topics at #TribFest19

The annual Texas Tribune Festival occurred last weekend, one of the state’s most important political gatherings. Conversations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Beto O’Rourke were standing room only. Federal health care issues were also a featured topic.

Decriminalizing mental illness associated with homelessness and providing housing as a critical aspect of health care was a common thread. Alternative proposals to a Medicare for All option was a topic of considerable discussion. Health care workforce and education demands rounded out the points of discussion.