CHIP Funding Restored

Governor Rick Perry has signed the bill that restores funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and makes more low income children eligible for the program. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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State Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston wrote the bill that restores funding the legislature cut four years ago when it was facing a $10 billion revenue shortfall.

"At one point in time, we had over 500,000 kids enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program. After the cuts in 2003 we lost about 200,000 kids, that were no longer covered. What HB 109 has done is that it has helped to restore most of those cuts."

The bill pays the state share of CHIP and makes it easier to get uninsured children into the program. Turner says as many as 127,000 more children will qualify for it now. He says it's now up to Congress to keep CHIP alive with a funding bill President Bush is threatening to veto.

"If Congress and the President will restore or renew the Children's Health Insurance Program and add additional funding, hopefully we will be able to increase the number of children in this state who will receive health care coverage."

President Bush says the CHIP bill now in Congress makes insured children eligible, and he thinks that would prompt many families to drop their private insurance and switch to the low cost federal insurance. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.