Sophie Novack

Sophie is the public health reporting fellow at the Observer. 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

With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas

In Bastrop County, advocates have about $100 to get the word out to tens of thousands of Texans.

In a back room of the Smithville Public Library, Ginger Redden passes around a donation jar to the volunteers gathered around the conference table. They take turns dropping coins and a few bills into the container, which is labeled “Lucky … Read More

Political Intelligence, Political Intelligence, The Issue

How a Texas Mom Fought to Restore Daughter’s Therapy After State Cuts

Years of legislative funding cuts to therapy for special needs kids has led to interrupted services and changes in behavior for some.

Amanda Crouse watched helplessly as the words began to slip away from her daughter Haylee. It had taken Crouse and a team of therapists months to help Haylee, then 2 years old, learn basic words. And now they were simply … Read More

Activists chant and yell in the Capitol rotunda as the House debates new abortion restrictions.
Health Care

Undocumented Teen Gets Abortion after Weeks of Court Battles, Alleged Abuse

The ruling allowing Doe to get the abortion does not yet change the federal policy that initially blocked her procedure.

An undocumented teen in federal custody was able to get an abortion Wednesday morning after a monthlong legal battle against the Trump administration, which was blocking her from the procedure. Jane Doe, as the 17-year-old from Central America is referred … Read More

Health Care

Attorney: Undocumented Teen Seeking Abortion Faced Abuse at Refugee Shelter

Once the shelter found out she wanted an abortion, staff “harangued” her about the decision, some even asking what she planned to name the baby, the attorney told the Observer.

Before she fled to the United States, Jane Doe, as she’s known in court filings, allegedly watched her parents beat her older sister, who had become pregnant out of wedlock, with firewood and cables until she miscarried. When Doe tried … Read More

Health Care

Federal Court Denies Undocumented Teen’s Request for an Abortion

An appeals court Friday heard arguments on whether a federal refugee agency can block a minor in its custody from having an abortion.

UPDATE: Late Friday afternoon, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an earlier ruling ordering the federal government to allow Jane Doe to have an abortion. Today’s decision effectively bars Doe from terminating her pregnancy, at least for now. Instead, … Read More

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

Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal

Community health centers are set to lose about one-fifth of their total funding if Congress doesn’t act by Saturday.

UPDATE: The House Energy and Commerce Committee said Thursday that it will consider legislation to extend community health center funding next week. Advocates are encouraged, but still on edge. This is an early step in the legislative process and will occur … Read More

Health Care

Where do Texas Democrats Stand on Single-Payer Health Care?

Half of the state’s congressional Dems have not signed on to Medicare for All legislation.

About 4.5 million Texans would get coverage under the single-payer health care legislation that’s gaining traction in Congress. Texas, with the highest uninsured rate in the country — nearly twice the national rate — has a lot of catching up … Read More

Health Care

State Plans to Restore Services after Advocates in Wheelchairs Surprise Officials

After disability advocates surrounded HHSC officials Monday, they were told the contract would be renewed, but few details have been provided.

On Monday afternoon, Emily Wolinsky and about 15 other disability-rights advocates, most in wheelchairs, sat around a long table at an Italian restaurant across the street from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) building. Over plates of pasta … Read More


Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home

“It’s kind of silly that this law is going into effect to give more power to insurance companies,” said Gerry Emig. “The thought that our representative would do that is a little scary.”

“It’s kind of silly that this law is going into effect to give more power to insurance companies. The thought that our representative would do that is a little scary.” Read More