TEXAS: Allocates $4M to Increase CHIP Outreach Efforts
Two weeks after a federal judge " blasted" the state for not expanding its Medicaid program, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission allocated an additional $4 million to bolster outreach efforts for its CHIP, the AP/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports. While 94,700 children currently participate in Texas' CHIP, the state hopes to enroll 428,000 of the state's 1.4 million uninsured children in the program by September of next year. Besides a $439 million federal allocation, the state had budgeted $180 million of its $17.3 billion tobacco settlement to fund the program for the biennium. Of that total, state officials had earmarked $7 million for outreach efforts. The extra $4 million in outreach funding, which will be taken directly from the commission's budget, comes as presidential candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) is being "accused," particularly by Democratic opponent Vice President Al Gore's camp, of not providing enough health care access to poor children. State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D) said, "What I am finding is that the glare of the national spotlight on this issue is certainly making us take a good, close look at ourselves to see if we can do more." Denying that politics motivated the funding decision, Bush campaign spokesperson Mike Jones said, "This is just a prudent, common sense decision by the Health and Human Services Commission." Jones added that the program has "room to grow," and said the move "is a reasonable step to help spread the word to parents about the availability" of CHIP (Mabin, 9/13).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.