Friday, February 02, 2007

Texas CHIP Report Garners a D-

As the Texas legislature gathers in Austin to conduct the state’s business for the next two years, an important report hits the Senate Finance Committee today. The state of Children’s Health Insurance looks dire in the Lone Star State.

Does everything have to be bigger in Texas? We have the most uninsured children with over 20% without coverage. We took the biggest backslide on covering kids under CHIP. Once over 525,000 with low cost health insurance, it now stands around 325,000. How did we lose 200,000 kids?

Texas legislators employed the same strategies our President wants to use on Medicaid. Premium sharing, higher deductibles and increased co-pays drove many off the plan. Others failed new qualifying tests or didn’t have the stomach to re-apply more often.

States love to garner their share of available federal funding, whether it’s highways, schools or health care. Texas has never used its CHIP allotment, even with a three year window to draw down funds. The unused Texas money goes back in a pot to be shared with other states that covered more people.

During the time our country’s uninsured grew from 42 to nearly 47 million, Texas dropped 200,000 kids from their CHIP rolls. So much for Texans caring for their own…

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