Legislature Fails to Pass CHIP

Style News Wire | 6/2/2009, 4:35 p.m.
Unfortunately, CHIP has become a partisan issue, where passage is seen as victory for Democrats and failure deemed a victory ...

Unfortunately, CHIP has become a partisan issue, where passage is seen as victory for Democrats and failure deemed a victory for Republicans. In the end, the only losers are Texas children. The reality is, CHIP died when Senate leadership failed to move CHIP out of the Senate Finance Committee. To add insult to injury, Senate members attempted to attach a CHIP amendment to a clearly non-germane bill. The ultimate death came from the Governor, who repeatedly promised to veto legislation that would insure Texas children. I had a conversation with the Governor's office at 4:00 PM, and they reaffirmed the Governor's intention to veto any CHIP legislation. I am deeply disappointed that 80,000 children will now be forced by the Governor and conservative Republican members to go without health insurance. As the Houston Chronicle stated, there are 80,000 reasons to pass and sign this legislation. The 80,00 children that would have been enrolled in this new program will now remain part of the 1.4 million uninsured children in Texas.

This session's CHIP legislation would have:

Implemented a sliding scale to cover uninsured kids with working parents earning from 200 to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Families covered under these provisions would have paid co-payments and monthly premiums, and would have contribute more than the state to the CHIP buy-in created in this bill.

Included strict "crowd out" language possible to ensure that private health insurance is not substituted by CHIP coverage.

Exempted child support payments and assets in college savings plans from being considered when determining eligibility for programs like CHIP and Medicaid.

You can be sure that I will continue to work on this issue in the future, until all children in Texas have access to health care.