Sophie Novack

Sophie Novack is a staff writer at the Observer covering public health. She previously covered health care policy and politics at National Journal in Washington, D.C. You can contact her at [email protected].

By Sophie Novack:

Health Care

Trump’s Sabotage of ACA Enrollment Is Particularly Dangerous in Texas

The attacks on enrollment outreach come as Texas’ uninsured rate increased last year to more than 17 percent — the highest since 2014.

Illustration/Sunny Sone On a dreary day in late September, Ana Maria Garza Cortez stood in front of a hotel conference room full of worn-out community health workers in San Antonio, trying to get them revved up about Obamacare. Open enrollment … Read More

rgv, voting
Health Care

In the Rio Grande Valley, New Citizens Turn Out to Vote for the First Time

A nonprofit in Brownsville is seeing more immigrants signing up for citizenship classes this year, and more exercising their new right to vote.

Fifty-one-year old Sandra Cantu had never voted before today. Originally from Matamoros, Mexico, Cantu has lived for the last 30 years in Brownsville, just over a mile from the border. She finally became a citizen and registered to vote this … Read More

pre-existing conditions, aca, lawsuit
Health Care

We Support Pre-Existing Condition Protections, Say Republicans Who’ve Repeatedly Tried to Eliminate Them

A Texas lawsuit has put the ACA’s popular pre-existing conditions provision front and center ahead of midterms, to the chagrin of Republicans who have vehemently opposed the law for years.

“Everyone agrees we’re going to protect pre-existing conditions,” Senator Ted Cruz said in a debate this month. Yes, the same Ted Cruz who forced a federal government shutdown in 2013 to try to defund the Affordable Care Act, including pre-existing … Read More

Mikael Love
Health Care

Meet Mikael Love, the OB-GYN Who Doesn’t Prescribe Birth Control

Love, who has delivered babies in the capital city for more than two decades, has a long track record of anti-abortion politics.

This summer, during a federal trial over Texas’ fetal burial law, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights set out to demonstrate the anti-abortion bias of the state’s final witness: an Austin OB-GYN named Mikeal Love. It wasn’t difficult. … Read More

Ken Paxton

Texas’ Indicted Attorney General is Barely Bothering to Campaign

This year, Ken Paxton is again running in absentia: avoiding the press, making few public appearances and refusing to debate Democratic challenger Justin Nelson.

It’s the Ken Paxton Vanishing Act, where you insert yourself in matters deeply consequential to Texans, only to then disappear — declining to comment or even show your face in public. In 2014, Paxton won a bitter GOP primary for … Read More

Health Care

Without Planned Parenthood, Almost Half the Providers in Texas’ Women’s Health Program Saw No Patients

Women’s health advocates say the high percentage of providers seeing few, if any, clients is “alarming.”

For years, the Texas health agency has claimed that its Healthy Texas Women program is thriving. After Planned Parenthood was booted out in 2013, state officials cobbled together a new network of women’s health providers, which they say is robust … Read More

A patient gets her blood pressure checked at the Waco Planned Parenthood.
Health Care

Texas Ends Contracts for Anti-Abortion Group Tapped to Provide Women’s Health Services

The announcement comes two weeks after the Observer reported that the Heidi Group served just 3,300 of the 70,000 patients it promised.

The Texas health agency announced late on Friday that it will terminate the state’s multi-million-dollar family planning contracts with the Heidi Group, the anti-abortion organization tapped to replace Planned Parenthood in the state’s women’s health programs. The surprise announcement comes … Read More