Category Archives: Health Care

#GetCovered – Houston Dept. of Health Will Be Open on Sunday

From the Inbox:

The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) will open four of its multi-service centers on Sunday and extend their business hours next Monday to help people sign up for a health insurance plan by the Affordable Care Act’s March 31 deadline.

HDHHS will open Acres Homes, Denver Harbor, Northeast and Southwest multi-service centers on Sunday, March 30, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. It will also extend the four multi-service centers’ business hours on Monday, March 31, until 10 p.m., setting the last ACA enrollment appointment for 8 p.m.

Approximately 99,000 Houston-area residents have enrolled in one of the more than 40 low-cost ACA health plans available in the region. Those without health insurance have only one week left to sign up.

Residents can set up an appointment for one-on-one help from certified application counselors at HDHHS by calling 832-393-5423. The counselors are able to help residents compare health plans and find one that fits their budget and health care needs.

The phone number connects residents to an ACA call center that HDHHS set up as part of the Gulf Coast Health Insurance Marketplace Collaborative, a group of 13 agencies helping people obtain insurance coverage through the ACA.

Certified application counselors and outreach staff with HDHHS and the other agencies in the collaborative have met face to face with more than 151,500 area residents since the enrollment period began in October. They have also reached out or distributed ACA brochures and information to approximately 538,000 people.

Documents needed to enroll during an appointment include:

    • Proof of U.S. citizenship: social security number or copy of U.S. passport for all family members
    • State residency: driver’s license, housing lease or utility bill
    • Income:  W-2 forms or pay stubs; unemployment or disability; social security, pension and retirement income; or copy of 2012 tax return
    • Current health insurance: policy numbers for any current health insurance and information about job-related health insurance
    • Immigration status or legal residency: Immigration document status numbers.

Tweet of the Day: Your Uncle Appointed The Judge

Little brown one has been taking up the cultural war to bring Latinos to the GOP. Today, he tweeted a complaint about a Federal Judge ruling two sections of Texas’ newest anti-woman law unconstitutional. My friends at Progress Texas responded quite effectively. As my late Pop would say, “Lo pescaron con los pantalones caidos.”

Event: 2nd Annual GOLDEN Dinner and Dance





Another event is proud to support. Click on the image to purchase your tickets! Kudos to Danita Gallegos and her crew for putting on this event again.golden


Click image to purchase your tickets!

Event: 2013 Walk for Mental Health Awareness – Houston is proud to support this event:

Third Annual –
The Walk for Mental Health Awareness – Houston

Sign up here!

We are one big event with four parts – for parts
details, please, visit our Facebook event page

City Hall Illumination – 10-10-13

Luncheon – United Way -10-11-13

“Mind & Soul Celebration -11-01-13


Saturday – October 12, 2013
On site registration and packet pick-up will open at 7 AM
Walk will be started at 8 AM sharp by Mayor Annise Parker

Sign up here!


Spotts Park
401 S. Heights Blvd. @ Willia St. (Tennis Courts)
Houston, TX 77007

On METRO bus Routes:
34 Montrose Crosstown (S. Heights @ Willia/Feagan)
36 Kempwood/Lawndale (Washington @ Heights)
50 Harrisburg/Heights      ( ” walk south on Heights)

Event Details:

This is a family fun event! You can walk and even optionally bring your dog to the walk so lace up your sneakers and grab your leash, this is also a dog friendly event! All doggies on leash with collar have free access to our “Pup  Tent” (sponsored by Bayou City Veterinary Hospital), humans MUST be accompanied by a doggie to gain entrance.  The Walk also features a wonderful Mental Health Expo with exciting exhibits, resource booths to help you find the right people to help in your family journey and of course refreshments, family entertainment and so much more!

Sign up here!

The Notion That The GOP Needs to Embrace People

An article in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal (by Enrique Rangel) caught my eye this weekend. It talked about the need for the Republican party to embrace minorities, and featured in the article was a complaining (again) Aaron Pena.

The article takes us back to Texas Monthly’s cover photo featuring Wendy Davis and the Castro brothers, which earned the Castros the insult of “wetback” from a bigot, to which Mayor Castro responded. Apparently, so did Aaron Pena.

So, Peña spoke up as loudly as he could.

“As conservatives grounded in principles of decency and respect for all people, it is our responsibility to openly denounce these sorts of demeaning statements,” he wrote in a letter to the editor published in the San Antonio Express-News.

“Our state is changing in many ways, demographically and otherwise,” Peña added. “If we are to move forward cohesively and productively as the great state we are, we must put these ugly vestiges of our past behind us.”

Given Republican attacks on women and the state budget, I’m haven’t seen the “decency and respect,” but as the immigration debate moves forward, it seems the vitriol is getting worse, thanks to Republican Steve King of Iowa and his “canteloupe” comments about DREAMers. Needless to say, it is even upsetting Republicans like Pena.

Over the years, King has also compared immigrants to dogs and proposed an electrified fence along the border with Mexico.

Back in Texas, Dallas tea party leader Ken Emanuelson said recently Republicans don’t want blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats.

“Our party doesn’t need those people and we should denounce them as strongly as we can when they make or post those ugly comments,” Peña said.

Even another Republican Latino had something to say.

“The problem is that those at the top, the leaders, don’t know how to deal with these people (the bigots),” said former Rep. Raul Torres of Corpus Christi.

“They have failed us miserably, hoping the problem will go away.” Torres said of GOP leaders who say little or nothing when a racist remark triggers a public uproar.

Hell, although not racist in nature, but more “chicken-shittedness,” I had my issues with the Democrats who listened to a consultant who told them back in 2005 that the immigration issue would just go away and not to engage Republicans on it. That said, not much has changed, other than some cosmetic engagement and, now, a complete giveaway of the store (border militarization) during the negotiation over immigration reform to appease the Republicans–which has failed.

Bottom line, it will take a lot more than simply “being nice” to turn Latinos “red,” in vote and not in anger. Republican stances on education (K-12 and College), Obamacare, and jobs/economy are not very well liked by Latinos according to the latest Latino Decisions polling.

Much like it is said that Latinos are not monolithic (although Obama’s 71% in 2012 says much), they are also not a one-issue group of people, unless Republicans go negative on immigration (which then turns into anti-Latino rhetoric).

I had a relatively short conversation with a Republican Latina who attended the Gus Garcia Day celebration this weekend who tells me she is going to file to take on John Cornyn for U.S. Senate because of his stances on immigration. Other than telling her she faces a lonely road in the GOTea primary, since Latinos stay away from that primary a lot more often than from the Dem primary, it was difficult not to smirk. “Bless her heart,” I thought, but I reminded her of the fact that Latinos are not a one-issue people, and Republican primary voters are certainly not what you would call pro-Latino or pro-immigrant, given the kind  of stuff they come up with at their conventions.

Nonetheless, a run by her may be what it takes to convince Republicans to let go of the new-Jim Crow attitude they are portraying with their immigration stances, voter ID, etc. But she would still be a Latina Republican left to defend and convince Latinos on draconian budget cuts and everything else the GOP is trying to dismantle.

In other words, the name-calling is just one part of the reason Republicans aren’t earning the Latino vote.



Dem Reaction to HB2, Looking Ahead

A few hours later and it is still sinking in that some sort of right-wing “christian” Taliban is in charge of the state of Texas. Too harsh? Well, when I’m still able and willing to recall the “good ol’ days” when Dems and Reps worked together on legislation, amended bills, and worked for the good of Texas, then it is obvious what Texas Republicans have chosen to do:  Double-down on their cultural and holy war against women, gays, Latinos, blacks, the sick, the elderly, etc.

Here’s some reaction from some of our fighting Democratic Senators .

State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) El Paso:  H.B. 2 does not enhance women’s health, and it will not stop abortions. It will only make legal abortion services less available, and therefore, more dangerous.

Political medicine is bad for the health of women, our constitutional republic, and the lives of Texans, and it’s part of a historical pattern of oppression that has afflicted women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, the poor – the powerless.

State Senator Rodney Ellis (D) Houston:  Tonight was an extremely disappointing moment in the struggle for women’s rights and the movement to ensure all Texas families have access to affordable and quality health care.

On the heels of a major assault on our voting rights by a right wing Supreme Court, tonight is another reminder of the need for all of us who truly care about advancing the cause of democracy that the fight continues.  We must push forward and stand together to protect the rights of Texas families from attempts to reverse our nation’s proud  history of evolving towards greater equality and justice for all.

I’m awaiting additional responses, but there’s no doubt we have work to do. Again, registering voters may be one commitment, but we need to add to it political education on issues and voting. It will not help us to meet the ignorance sold to voters by the Republican Party with our own brand of ignorance. We must be better in all facets of this thing we call democracy.

Kuff has more, including more on the Tampon fiasco. Texpatriot asks and answers, “Where do we go from here?”

The #SWTW Rally: We Need More of These

Standing among over 1100 women’s rights activists, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one cheering on Wendy Davis and some of my favorite State Senators while also thinking about what the hell the Republicans were doing in Austin at the same time. 

Whether it is Laubenberg, et al’s downright lies about caring about women and what they now term the “pre-born” or what else is to come from Dewhurst and the Republicans in the Senate later this week, boottom line, as much as we were fighting for women’s rights, yesterday’s rally at Discovery Green was also about gassing up our campaign bus for a real statewide campaign in 2014.

Whether Democrats reach that campaign potential is still to be seen, but there is no doubt that the Senators on stage last night, as well as those in the House who have stood up against the Republicans on behalf of women, have shown us that we have a strong bench of prospects–that’s if they want to take on what would be an enormous feat in 2014. Yes, I’m a realist, but I’m one of those dangerous realists who would take a chance, anyway, rather than simply sit back and wait. Nothing gives energy to dormant voters than candidates willing to stand up and fight.

Anyway, if you weren’t at Discovery Green last night you missed an energetic rally. And as someone who got to play the part of “media” last night, the energy was definitely there–from the people and the politicians. I hadn’t felt anything like it in a long time, and, it is safe to say that, these kind of events need to happen for multiple issues during the next year-and-a-half.


Thanks to PDiddie and Kuff for some great posts, to which I have linked above.

The SWTW Bus Tour stops in Dallas and Fort Worth today. For all my friends up in the Metroplex, be there!

Stand With TX Women Bus Tour – Houston

I’m sure there is a lot of excitement, now that Rick Perry has announced he is done as Governor at the end of what seems like another endless term. But the fight in Austin against Rick Perry’s attack on women is not over; in fact, the Stand With TX Women Bus Tour is happening and is coming to Houston on Tuesday, July 9, at 6PM at Discovery Green.

I hear there will be many great speakers, including Texas Senator Wendy Davis. Of course, I’m hoping my favorite State Senator, Sylvia Garcia, will also be there. If you haven’t read her latest op-ed on Rick Perry’s War on Women, you need to catch up. Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle:

The Republican leadership has made it clear it does not support access to safe reproductive services, access to health care or even equal pay for women. But, at the very least, they could respect the female senators fighting for constituents.

It became obvious on June 25 that the Republicans would not allow Sen. Davis to complete her filibuster. They dishonored the traditions of the Senate as frivolous points of order were sustained against Sen. Davis for the whole world to see. This culminated in Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, rightfully asking, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

The war on women had been declared and hundreds of Texas citizens in the Senate gallery that night rose in support of their constitutional rights, thus killing the abortion bill.

I plan on being there, so, I hope to see you all at Discovery Green on Tuesday!

RALLY SPEAKER UPDATE:  Planned Parenthood confirms that Cecile Richards will be among the speakers.

The Speakers Line-Up:

* Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
* Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
* Sen. Wendy Davis
* Sen. Kirk Watson
* Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia
* Sen. Jose Rodriguez
* Sen. Rodney Ellis
* Rep. Jessica Farrar
* Jonee Longoria, single mom who relied on Planned Parenthood for basic health care
* Dr. Damla Dryden, Ob-Gyn
* Januari Leo, Activist and former Planned Parenthood patient

Houston’s Meet Up to Stand Up

Senator Sylvia Garcia Speaks to Meet Up Crowd.

After over 5,000 rallied in support of women’s rights in Austin yesterday, a couple to few hundred more gathered at Houston’s Hughes Hanger on Washington to continue the day’s activities and stay focused on the cause.

Along with getting to see some of my favorite Democratic and pro-choice friends, it seemed every corner of the place was filled with discussion centered on what was next–with the bills, with 2014, and the future. And I also got lucky and heard a first-hand account of the Austin rally from an activist who made both events. No doubt, there was a lot of energy in the crowd.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia headlined, along with Planned Parenthood CEO Melaney Linton. Garcia reminded us that while the fight is currently in Austin, that it will not stop there. Whether it goes to the courts or, ultimately, to the ballot box, it must continue.

That said, thanks to the Senator and the Harris Democrats for sponsoring and organizing a bus to today’s House State Affairs Committee hearing in Austin. If you’re in Austin, do attend. It begins at 3:30pm. 

Sidenote:  And while I did see a good contingent of Latinas at the event, I was disappointed that more Latinos didn’t show. No tengan miedo!  Also, it was great to see Mayor Annise Parker showing her support, as well as At-Large 3 candidates Jenifer Rene Pool and Rogene Gee Calvert.

Now, We Have SB1

According to State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) El Paso, Senate Bill 1, the companion bill to House Bill 2, has now been filed as the omnibus anti-choice bill by Hegar and co-authored by Estes and Williams for the 2nd Special Session.

S.B. 1 would ban abortions after 20 weeks, which is contrary to past rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, and therefore, likely unconstitutional. In addition, the bill requires health clinics that perform abortions to be certified as ambulatory surgery centers. Doctors’ groups and others have deemed these additional building requirements medically unnecessary and extremely costly to implement; it would force closure of all but five of the 42 clinics that perform abortions in Texas, including the two clinics in El Paso.

Other provisions of S.B. 1 substitute political judgment for evidence-based, best medical practices regarding the use of a pill for a medical abortion and place other unnecessary restrictions on doctors and intrude on the doctor-patient relationship. In essence, if passed, S.B. 1 would make it extraordinarily difficult for a woman to have access to a legal, safe abortion in this state.

The arguments for and against will be similar; the difference is the time available for the right-wing to pass it. According to Rodriguez:

At the end of the last special session, the leadership chose to prioritize their narrow ideological agenda rather than pass transportation and criminal justice legislation that had overwhelming bipartisan support. The record clearly shows that Senate leadership sacrificed Senate traditions and twisted the rules — including a possible attempt to alter a government document — to pass a bill that ultimately endangers women’s health.

Now, they want a “do over.” But, the fact remains that this legislation is still as bad for women as it was last week. Along with the thousands of Texans who have made their voices heard, we will continue to do everything we can to fight this assault on Texas women.

So, here we go.