Pursuing federal money for economic development and children’s health care
February 10, 2009
This Senate Joint Resolution:
- Creates a Constitutional requirement to fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so taxpayers recoup available federal dollars.
- Gradually expands CHIP coverage to 300% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) over five years.
- Sets a “floor” for children’s health appropriations with flexibility to expand current and future programs.
- Avoids unintended consequences that could strain future budgets with a “safety valve” tied to coverage levels or federal grant funding.
- Puts children above petty, narrow political soundbytes.
- The bill allows a “first call” on general revenue for the applicable federal children’s health plan (CHIP, or a successor state program that’s eligible for federal funds).
- It appropriates the lesser of what’s needed to obtain the maximum federal match or to provide coverage at certain income levels.
- It increases “floor” eligibility levels to 200% FPL in FY 2011, 250% in FY 2012 and ’13, and 300% in FY 2014 and thereafter.
- It expires after FY 2022 or when the applicable health programs have terminated.
- It allows the Legislature to appropriate additional funds for CHIP if so desired.
- It requires voter approval in November 3, 2009 election.
- A related bill will spell out duties of the Health & Human Services Commission, the Legislative Budget Board, and Comptroller in administering funds under this system.
- The bill addresses the serious problem of uninsured children in Texas.
- It de-politicizes CHIP funding by separating it from the appropriations process.
- It prevents future legislatures from harming Texas children and the economy by recklessly dismantling CHIP.
- It protects the Texas economy by fully funding this vital economic development program that has a guaranteed return on investment and that supports Texas businesses and employers.
- Since 2003, Texas has left nearly $1 billion in federal funds on the table through inadequate CHIP funding.
- Texas’ percentage of uninsured children is the highest in the country.
- HHSC projects “full funding” of CHIP at current levels by 2011, meaning amendment would have a minimal effect on 2010-11 budget.
- Recent federal legislation allows Texas to insure children up to 300% poverty level ($66,000/yr for family of four), with a 72-28 federal-state match.
© 2020 Kirk Watson Texas Senator All Rights Reserved
Political advertisement paid for by Kirk Watson Campaign,
P.O. Box 2004, Austin, TX, 78768; Rosie Mendoza,Treasurer.