TAHP Urges TX U.S. Senators to Reauthorize CHIP
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Posted by: Jessica Sandlin
November 21, 2017
TO: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX
FROM: The Texas Association of Health Plans
Dear Senators Cornyn and Cruz,
On behalf of all major commercial and public health plans operating in Texas, including all plans that manage the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) is writing you today to strongly urge you to work with your colleagues to pass legislation reauthorizing CHIP—or risk 380,000 Texas children losing their health care coverage. Now six weeks since the missed October 1 deadline, funds that states—including Texas—are using to keep CHIP afloat will soon expire, threatening this life-saving program for one of our country’s most vulnerable populations.
As you know, CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to nearly 9 million children across the country and 370,000 pregnant women. Roughly 400,000 of these children are covered in Texas – the nation’s second largest population of CHIP enrollees in the country. CHIP is a critical public-private partnership that ensures children at risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases receive quality, affordable preventive care from an early age.
If Congress does not act swiftly, the State of Texas will no longer be able to administer CHIP and provide low-cost, quality health coverage to these children and expectant mothers who depend on CHIP for their vital health care needs. Dismantling this program would undo the successful gains CHIP has made since its inception nearly 20 years ago, such as reducing the overall rate of uninsured children in Texas from 18 percent to 6 percent.
A failure to reauthorize CHIP at the federal level would mean a $1 billion loss in federal funding for Texas and, ultimately, the loss of myriad benefits such as dental, vision and mental health care for children whose families do not earn enough to purchase health coverage for them. Without coverage, many of these children would be brought to ERs for basic health care needs, disrupting their preventive and routine care with established primary care providers and likely harming efforts to prevent diabetes and other chronic conditions. Exorbitant ER costs and those associated with addressing chronic conditions would have a direct, negative impact on Texas taxpayers.
TAHP thanks you in advance for considering this request and doing what is right for Texas’ most vulnerable children and mothers.
Texas Association of Health Plans