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Executive Agency Defies Legislature, Creates ‘Equity’ Office

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The Texas Department of State Health Services is using close to $45 million to create the Office of Health Equity Policy and Performance. Purportedly, the office will work with state and local public health entities to address disparities in health outcomes in various demographics.

This Sounds Familiar

If this sounds familiar, it is because Democrat State Rep. Garnet Coleman (Houston) authored a bill during the 87th Legislative Session that would have created the Office of Health Equity within the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, which is an entity of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The bill was included in the healthcare legislative priorities of Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan as a part of his “Healthy Families, Healthy Texas” legislative package announced in early April.

The bill passed the Texas House of Representatives on May 5 by a vote of 77-51 and included 16 Republicans.

Those Republicans were State Reps. Steve Allison (San Antonio), Brad Buckley (Salado), Gary Gates (Rosenberg), Dan Huberty (Humble), Todd Hunter (Corpus Christi), Kyle Kacal (College Station), Ken King (Canadian), Stephanie Klick (Ft. Worth), John Kuempel (Seguin), Stan Lambert (Abilene), Morgan Meyer (Dallas), Geanie Morrison (Victoria), Chris Paddie (Marshall), Four Price (Amarillo), John Raney (Bryan), and Jim Murphy (Houston).

Murphy is also the House Republican Caucus chairman.

When the bill arrived in the Texas Senate, it was never even referred to a committee and granted a hearing, sealing its fate—or so you would have thought.

An Agency Acts of Its Own Accord

Texas used to have an agency that was called the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities. It was created in 2010 and ended in 2017 during the 85th Legislative Session when it was defunded. The agency ultimately shut its doors in August of 2018.

The close to $45 million being

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