Chipping Away at Tough CHIP Requirements

House Dems call for repeal of tough eligibility requirements for working parents seeking health assistance for their uninsured children

House Democrats last week called for the repeal of tough eligibility requirements for working parents seeking public health assistance for their uninsured children. In 2003, lawmakers enacted tighter enrollment standards as their answer to a $10 billion deficit. At the time, Republican legislators boasted that they dealt with the budget shortfall without raising taxes; in fact, they merely punted the financial crisis and social responsibilities to the local level. Dozens of bills have been filed this session that would eliminate and revise some of the eligibility requirements for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Many of the changes would return CHIP to its original structure before the 2003 changes led to swift enrollment drops. More than 60 House Democrats have signed onto legislation that would strike the existing 90-day waiting period to receive CHIP coverage, change the application renewal requirement from every six months to once a year, and consider a family's eligibility based on net income instead of gross income.

"Children should not be denied CHIP coverage because their parents are saving money for college or saving money to purchase a house or saving money to start a small business," said Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, who has secured reappointment to the House Human Services Committee. In the Senate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already gone on record opposing changes to the six-month renewal requirement, saying, "I don't think most people in Texas have a lot of sympathy for someone that can't fill out a two-page application every six months." Dewhurst aims to make "Texas Children First" a hallmark of his new term, but his campaign places most of its emphasis on stamping out child sex predators while saying nothing about children's health care.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More CHIP
Naked City
Naked City

July 27, 2007

On the Lege: A $156 Million Disaster
On the Lege: A $156 Million Disaster
The Accenture scheme blows up in the state's face

March 23, 2007

More Texas Legislature
85th Texas Legislature Preview
85th Texas Legislature Preview
Can the GOP-run House and Senate get along well enough to get anything accomplished?

the News Staff, Jan. 13, 2017

Top 10 Lege Stories
Top 10 Lege Stories

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 1, 2016

More by Amy Smith
Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

Section 8 Reopens
Section 8 Reopens
Hurry up ... and wait!

Oct. 3, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Legislature, Children's Health Insurance Program, Elliott Naishtat, David Dewhurst, CHIP

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle