Facts beat fiction in ugly primaries

Photo by Todd Wiseman

Congratulations, Texas voters. Your grandmothers should be proud.

You didn’t fall for the ridiculous lies, mailed to our homes in February, accusing incumbent Republicans in primary elections of somehow wanting to tax your grandmothers.

I would like to thank you all personally. Because in rejecting the “granny tax” lie, you may have just helped save long term care in Texas. That’s because fake news like that can hurt real people.

As someone who has dedicated my livelihood to long term care, it was frustrating to see these efforts to mislead voters on something as important as how we can improve care for senior Texans in our nursing homes. I know this may sound naive, but some things should be above political games.

The truth was, both Republican and Democrats supported a quality-based bill in 2017 that would have improved care for nursing home residents without increasing costs to the state. It was a smart, practical plan crafted by a Republican and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House before it died in the final hours of the session, waiting for a Senate vote.

It only became the “granny tax” in twisted lies mailed to voters to influence a primary race by people who appear to be more concerned with platitudes than policy and more specifically, the quality of long-term care in Texas.

While it didn’t pass, we here at Park Manor Bee Cave appreciate the many lawmakers who fought for senior Texans when it counted. We hope that other legislators will share their commitment — and courage — in the future and prioritize the care of our elderly.

Every day, our staff works hard to deliver the kind of care that we expect for our own family. Every day, it is a struggle because Texas’ long-term care Medicaid reimbursement rate is one of the lowest in the nation. It doesn’t even cover the cost of care for the residents in my facility who depend on Medicaid.

Combined with the difficulty of the job, this lack of funding makes it difficult to maintain competitive wages for good nurses and to attract and retain the best staff possible.

In rejecting the “granny tax” lie, voters in our district recognized misinformation when they saw it and recognized the efforts of legislators who worked to support thoughtful, meaningful policy.

We will continue to do the best with what we have, because our efforts matter to too many special Texans who once took care of us.

Cory Hawkins

Licensed Nursing Facility Administrator, HMG Healthcare