CHILDREN’s HEALTH: HCFA Requests CHIP Outreach Funds
HCFA received "rare praise" yesterday from the Senate Finance Committee, which applauded the Children's Health Insurance Program for exceeding initial enrollment goals, CongressDaily reports. "We are here to focus on a success story," said committee Chair William Roth (R-DE), pointing to enrollment figures that approached 1 million for CHIP's first full year in operation, surpassing CBO's estimates of 800,000. Testifying before the committee, HCFA Administrator Nancy-Ann Min DeParle said that states "have indicated that their outreach efforts have been hampered by limited funding," and suggested two legislative changes: One would increase the limit on program funds allocated for outreach from 10% to 13%, the second would allow states to tap into the $500 million fund reserved for outreach to children dropped from cash assistance but still eligible for Medicaid (Rovner, 4/29).
Texas CHIP Progresses
The Lone Star State inched closer to getting its CHIP program on its feet yesterday, as state House members cleared a bill that differs slightly from the state Senate's version. Under the House version, nearly 471,000 children under age 19 from families earning up to twice the federal poverty level would be eligible for the program. The Senate version trims that figure down by 60,000 children, restricting access to children aged 11 to 18 from families earning up to 150% of the federal poverty level . The measures now head to a conference committee. The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas is "one of the worst states in the country when it comes to insuring children," with nearly 1.4 million uninsured. State House Speaker Pete Laney (D) called the CHIP bill "one of the hardest-worked bills this whole session. The tobacco settlement made it a little easier. It took the funding question out of it, so it came down to a philosophical viewpoint rather than a dollar viewpoint" (Lee, 4/30).