TBC Urges Congress to Reauthorize Children’s Health Insurance Program
LAREDO, Texas (Dec. 13, 2017) – The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) today urged President Trump and Congress to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while maintaining funding for other necessary health programs. Absent swift action by federal lawmakers, Texas is expected to run out of money for the CHIP program in February.
“CHIP serves as a vital safety net for low-income Texas children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private health insurance,” said Laredo Mayor and TBC Chairman Pete Saenz. “We cannot afford to let this program end. President Trump and Congress must put their political and budget battles aside and reauthorize the CHIP program without delay.”
CHIP provides access to quality dental, vision, and other services for Texas children that would be lost unless Congress renews the program that expired on October 1, 2017.
“Since its inception in 1997, the CHIP program has garnered widespread support from both political parties and from an overwhelming majority of the nation’s governors and state legislatures,” said Dr. Hector Gonzalez, chairman of TBC’s Healthcare Committee. “Simply put, Congress must act quickly to reauthorize this critical safety net health program for thousands of children who live along the Texas border. If not, many will go without care for wellness, prevention and critical health conditions.”
Approximately 400,000 Texas children who are not eligible for Medicaid are able to access to affordable health coverage through CHIP. More than 29,000 children covered by CHIP reside in Texas border counties. Over the past eight years, Medicaid expansion and CHIP have helped reduce the children’s uninsured rate from 15 percent to a record low of 5 percent.
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has approved legislation reauthorizing the expired CHIP program for five years without resorting to cuts in other health programs. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives’ authorization bill relies on cuts to public health programs and increased Medicare premiums.
Saenz and Gonzalez said any initiative to advance public health through the reauthorization of the CHIP program would be incomplete unless it addresses the significant funding needs of Community Health Centers, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and the National Health Service Corps.
Earlier this week, TBC sent a resolution to congressional leaders urging swift action to reauthorize the program. To view the resolution, visit the coalition’s website at www.texasbordercoation.org.