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More Than 400,000 Texas Kids Might Lose Health Coverage Right Before Christmas: Your Texas Roundup

Family of Sutherland Springs victims seek justice against the Air Force, Representative Joe Barton faces new challenges, and Texans get nominated for Grammys.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“This all happened in the blink of an eye. I implore everyone to get trained on the Heimlich, CPR, and other basic life-saving skills. I squeezed my wife and three wee Willetts a little tighter tonight, and we prayed for this man’s dear family. Life is precious—and fleeting.”

—Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, in an email to the Austin American-Statesman. Willett used the Heimlich maneuver to save a man who was choking at an Austin Chick-fil-A on Tuesday night.


BIG NEWS


A doctor gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office on September 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

Christmas Spirit
More than 400,000 Texas kids might lose their health coverage right before Christmas, the Dallas Morning News reported on Tuesday. The state needs $90 million more in federal funding or else it will cut off the Children’s Health Insurance Program on January 31, and will send notices about the program’s end to affected families on December 22. CHIP covers more than 400,000 children of the working poor. Congress has been unwilling to reauthorize the program, which has enough money to last through January. The state Health and Human Services Commission asked the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for $90 million, which would allow CHIP to keep running in Texas through February. The federal agency has until December 9 to agree to the request. If they don’t agree, then the commission would have to start making preparations to end the program in January and instead refer families to the Affordable Care Act’s online health insurance marketplace. “Families might fall through the cracks, families might not be able to afford coverage in the marketplace,” Adriana Kohler, senior health policy associate for the advocacy group Texans Care for Children, told the Morning News. “And then there’s the system issue that needs to be worked out. On the online marketplace, if you qualify for other insurance programs like CHIP, you cannot enroll in a marketplace plan. So these kids are technically eligible for CHIP, but their coverage will lapse after January.”


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Seeking Justice
A family that lost nine family members in the Sutherland Springs church shooting filed a claim against the U.S. government on Tuesday, seeking damages and citing errors made by the Air Force in allowing the shooter to purchase a gun. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the Holcombe family filed a claim specifically in the death of Bryan Holcombe, and a lawsuit could be imminent. Coincidentally, the Air Force also announced on Tuesday the results of a review into shooter Devin Kelley’s case, finding background reporting lapses at other locations similar to the mistake that allowed Kelley to purchase his weapon despite having been convicted in military court of domestic abuse. The conviction should have prevented Kelley from buying the gun he used in the church massacre. “Although the shooter undoubtedly ‘pulled the trigger’ that resulted in the injuries and death of JB Holcombe and others, failures of the US Air Force, and others, allowed the shooter to purchase, own and/or possess the semiautomatic rifle, ammunition and body armor he used, and it is these failures that were a proximate cause, in whole or in part, of the injuries and death of the decedent,” the Holcombe family’s claim said.

Tough Road
A week after U.S. Representative Joe Barton publicly apologized for his years-old nude photos that circulated online before Thanksgiving, the veteran Ennis congressman now faces a new primary challenger for his seat and faces pressure from fellow Republicans to resign. On Tuesday, Jake Ellzey, a retired U.S. Navy pilot and commissioner on the Texas Veterans Commission, became the first Republican to file a bid against Barton this election cycle, according to the Dallas Morning News. Meanwhile, some Tarrant County Republicans who met with Barton on Monday to talk about his political future have now openly called for him not to seek reelection. “Since Mr. Barton’s highly-publicized issues have come to light, I have talked to numerous Republican activists, leaders, voters and elected officials about this situation—not a single one of them thinks he should run again,” Tim O’Hare, who heads the Tarrant County Republican Party, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday. “I personally hope he learns from this and tries to be a better father and man…. I, along with thousands of other Tarrant County Republicans, call on Mr. Barton to not seek re-election and to retire from Congress by the end of this year.”

Making Music
A bunch of Texas musicians were nominated for Grammy awards on Tuesday, with El Paso’s Khalid leading the way with five nominations. East Texas native Miranda Lambert garnered two nominations—one for best country solo performance and another shared nomination for best country song for “Tin Man.” Kelly Clarkson, from Fort Worth, earned a nomination for best pop solo performance for “Love So Soft.” Fort Worth native Maren Morris was also nominated for best country solo performance with her “I Could Use a Love Song.” Despite not releasing any of her own new music this year, Beyoncé still received a nomination for best rap/sung performance for “Family Feud,” her collaboration with her husband Jay-Z. But Khalid stole the show with five nominations, including song of the year (along with Logic and Alessia Cara for the suicide awareness anthem “1-800-273-8255,” which was also nominated for best music video) and best new artist. He’s also up for best urban contemporary album for American Teen and best R&B song for his breakthrough single “Location.” Not a bad haul for a nineteen-year-old.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

The Houston Rockets are good Houston Chronicle

Texas prisons ban Alice Walker’s The Color Purple but not Hitler’s Mein Kampf Dallas Morning News

Sid Miller admitted to sharing a fake news story, but didn’t take the fake story down San Antonio Current

Three people were arrested for allegedly stealing Christmas ornaments from El Paso’s downtown plaza El Paso Times

A traffic crash caused a power outage at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco Waco Tribune

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  • Jay Trainor

    Tax cuts for corporations and the 1% take priority over healthcare for nearly nine million poor kids across the country. Someone tell me how that squares with last weekend’s Gospel reading of Matthew 25:31-46?

    What happened to the compassionate conservative, family values, pro-life Republican Party?

    • biff

      After you’re out of the womb, you’re on your own, kid.