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].

Criminal Justice

Compassionate (Ab)use: Family Battles Texas over Medical Marijuana

The Zartlers have gone through a veritable pharmacy of prescription drugs, but they say medical marijuana is the only thing that stops Kara from hitting herself.

Mark Zartler measures how well his 17-year-old daughter, Kara, is doing by what he calls a “hit test” — counting the number of times she hits herself on a given day. Kara, who has severe autism and cerebral palsy, has … Read More

Protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court as judges consider oral arguments in the Texas House Bill 2 abortion case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.
Health Care

Lawsuit Filed Against New Texas Abortion Law

The Trump presidency and possible changes to the Supreme Court raise the stakes for the state’s next abortion fight.

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Texas’ sweeping 2013 anti-abortion law that closed the majority of clinics in the state, reproductive-rights attorneys are challenging a major provision of the new Senate Bill 8, signed into law by … Read More

Health Care

Texas Bill Would Revoke Medical Licenses of Doctors Who Perform Abortions

A measure proposed in the special session would ban physicians from providing almost all abortions.

A bill filed in the Texas Legislature’s special session would revoke the licenses of doctors who perform abortions in the state, with limited exceptions. The measure, filed by far-right Representative Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, would expand the “prohibited practices” that result … Read More

Health Care

Texas Mother ‘Deathly Afraid’ of Medicaid Cuts Under GOP Health Plan

Patients, families, doctors, and advocates gathered at a health care town hall with Congressman Lloyd Doggett on Sunday.

For Diane Kearns, the current debate over health care reform comes down to this: “Medicaid saved Dean’s life.” Dean is her son, she explained to several hundred people at a town hall meeting in Austin this weekend. He has cerebral … Read More


Five New Laws that Will Likely Get Texas Sued (Or Already Have)

The Texas Legislature passed at least 5 arguably unconstitutional bills this year, and the special session hasn’t even started.

Infighting, red-meat politics and parliamentary revenge characterized this year’s Texas Legislature. Amid the fray, legislators failed to reauthorize basic state agencies such as the Texas Medical Board, which is why Texans now face the gloomy fate of another 30-day session … Read More

Governor Greg Abbott
Health Care

The GOP Health Plan Would Give Governor Greg Abbott Power Over Your Coverage

The Senate bill allows states a huge amount of leeway to get rid of insurance requirements.

The Senate Republicans’ health care plan would give governors virtually unchecked discretion over health insurance plans. In red states with governors hostile to health care expansion, such as Texas, that could mean loss of coverage and skyrocketing costs for patients. Governor … Read More

Health Care

Who Really Gets Government Benefits In Texas?

It’s already difficult to qualify for Medicaid in Texas. The GOP health care plan would drastically shrink the program.

JOANNA WOJTKOWIAK Texas already has some of the strictest eligibility requirements of any state for poverty relief programs. More than 4 million Texans live in poverty — about 16 percent of the state’s population — but programs such as Medicaid, … Read More

Health Care

How Texas’ Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Win Even While Losing in Court

Senate Bill 8 will likely face a lawsuit this summer. The problem for abortion-rights advocates is that legislation often moves faster than the courts.

“Why don’t we just stop passing unconstitutional laws?” asked an exasperated Representative Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie. He spoke in May as the House debated a sweeping new anti-abortion bill that Governor Greg Abbott has since signed into law. Turner didn’t … Read More