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:

inidividual with a headache
Health Care

Medicare Covered Her Medication for a Decade. Now, She Could be Spending Thousands Each Month For Migraine Relief.

A federal judge in Austin recently denied a patient’s appeal asking Medicare to cover the skyrocketing cost of her prescription.

Rachel Harger struggles to find the words to describe her pain. She speaks carefully, each word seeming to take significant effort. “You just, you can’t do anything,” she says. “You can’t function.” The lights in the dining room of her … Read More

Carol Everett.
Health Care

Controversial Anti-Abortion Activist Wants a Guarantee Her New Group Will be Eligible for Title X Funding Next Year

The argument from Heidi Group founder Carol Everett has “no logical limit,” wrote government attorneys in a recent court filing.

Heidi Group founder and anti-abortion activist Carol Everett is battling the federal government over the future of federal family planning funding. In a lawsuit, she is asking for a guarantee that her new group will be eligible for Title X … Read More

Health Care

Trump Administration Approves Medicaid Funds for Texas While Excluding Planned Parenthood

Reproductive health advocates warn the decision provides a “dangerous roadmap” for other states to defund the health care provider.

The Trump administration on Wednesday approved Texas’ longtime request to restore federal funding it lost by cutting Planned Parenthood from the state women’s health program. The unprecedented move puts a rubber stamp on Texas’ controversial effort that has led to … Read More

CHIP, baby, crying, doctor, texas
Health Care

In Texas, Thousands of Kids Lose Medicaid Coverage Each Month

Texas has the most uninsured kids in the nation. But state lawmakers have made it especially difficult for kids to stay on Medicaid.

It’s becoming a familiar scene across Texas: a parent brings her child to the doctor for a checkup. She signs in at the front desk. Only then does she learn that her child has been kicked off her health insurance—a … Read More

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, after the court heard arguments over Texas abortion clinic regulations in its biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter-century. Texas State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, listens, third from left. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Health Care

Ken Paxton Says New Anti-Abortion Law Bars State Employees from Donating to Planned Parenthood

Advocates warn that the attorney general’s new opinion indicates how far efforts to implement a vague new law could go.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says state employees can no longer make payroll donations to Planned Parenthood under a new state law that bans abortion providers and their affiliates from partnering with local government entities.  Senate Bill 22, which went … Read More

Even before Ozona’s hospital closed in 1996, it had shuttered its maternity ward in the 1980s due to budget constraints.
Health Care

This West Texas Town is a Reproductive Health Void

Family planning clinics and abortion clinics across Texas have been closing at an alarming rate. Rural hospitals are shuttering their maternity wards. For many Texans, this means traveling hundreds of miles just to access basic reproductive health care services.

Critical Condition: Part 3 Labor Away Family planning clinics and abortion clinics across Texas have been closing at an alarming rate. Rural hospitals are shuttering their maternity wards. For many Texans, this means traveling hundreds of miles just to access … Read More

Health Care

A Decade of Texas Health Care By The Numbers

What do 2010 vs. 2019 comparisons tell us when it comes to lawmakers’ priorities on health care?

Texas is number one!…on many worst-of lists when it comes to public health. Over the past decade, there’s been upheaval in health care here and nationwide. In Texas, uninsured rates dropped a bit, then rose again. Access to reproductive health … Read More

A radiography room in a hospital.
Health Care

Everyone Wants to End Surprise Medical Billing in Texas, but No One Wants to Pay for It

New patient protections go into effect January 1, but a last-minute rulemaking controversy illustrates how hard it is to fix even a relatively narrow health care problem.

Patient advocates in Texas celebrated this spring, when they finally hit a major milestone in the decade-long fight against surprise medical bills. Amid a flood of media attention spotlighting patients who had been hit with astronomical hospital charges for procedures they … Read More

Carole Ward, a former nurse practitioner, ran the Memphis health clinic until she retired in 2017.
Health Care

The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas

Carole Ward, a former nurse practitioner, ran the only health clinic in a small town in the Panhandle until she retired in 2017.

This story is part of “Critical Condition,” a series investigating Texas’ rural health care crisis. Read Part 1 here. Carole Ward, a 66-year-old nurse practitioner who lives in Hedley, ran the Memphis health clinic from 2005 until she retired and the clinic … Read More

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