CHIP: Texas Stands to Lose $449M
Texas could forego $449 million in federal funds for the health care of low-income children because the state waited too long to establish its Children's Health Insurance Program, the Dallas Morning News reports. The state began enrolling children in CHIP in May, one year after Texas lawmakers created the program and three years after Congress allocated $48 billion for state CHIP efforts. States are required to use the first installment of the federal funds by Sept. 30 or the money is forfeited. According to HCFA, 41 states and the District of Columbia will leave $1.9 billion unspent, with California expected to forgo $591 million and Texas $449 million. Nearly $840 million could be redirected to the 15 states and U.S. territories that have overspent the federal allotment on their programs. "Nobody in Texas thought this (program) was important enough to start right away," Anne Dunkelberg, a health care policy analyst at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said. But Charles Stuart of the state Health and Human Services Commission said, "It's taken quite a while to ramp the program up. We, like many other states, were not able to start taking advantage of these funds when they were available." He added, "It was a given that we would not be able to use the full allotment." The Texas program is expected to provide health coverage to as many as 471,000 children under the age of 19 (Lee, 7/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.