Rural Health Care Advocates Struggle For Attention In Texas

The Texas Tribune reports on politics surrounding rural health care in Texas in a three part series: "Politically speaking, it's no time to be an advocate for rural health care. In the last House Speaker's race and on the state's health care regulatory boards, rural lawmakers say they've been outnumbered and under-represented. The looming redistricting battle will only shrink their ranks. They're finding it more and more difficult to teach an increasingly urban Legislature about the crisis in rural health care. ... with last session's election of San Antonio Rep. Joe Straus as Speaker, a big city lawmaker now holds the House's top post. And urban House members replaced many rural ones as committee chairs, a hit to rural lawmakers' cumulative influence" (Ramshaw, 1/6).

And in other state news, The Boston Globe reports that "The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has banned students, faculty, and staff from covering their faces on its three campuses in an effort to ensure public safety, a college spokesman said yesterday. But the new policy has drawn flak from a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, which wants the school to exempt Muslim women who veil their faces for religious reasons. The ban applies to anything that covers the entire face. In addition to veils, that could include ski masks and scarfs drawn over the face, [Michael Ratty, a spokesman for the college], said" (Finucane, 1/6).

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