For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"CHIP is good medicine for Texas children and good for Texas

Texas Physicians and Hospitals Join State Legislators to Ensure Texas Children Have Health Care Coverage

    AUSTIN, Texas, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 400 Texas physicians,
medical students, and hospital leaders rallied state legislators today to
pass legislation that would provide health insurance to thousands of Texas
Physician and hospital leaders from across the state joined state Reps.
Sylvester Turner (D-Houston); House Bill 109 author, John Davis
(R-Houston); Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin); and Patrick Rose (D-Dripping
Springs) to encourage their colleagues to pass HB 109. The bill would
restore 12 months of continuous coverage for kids in the Children's Health
Insurance Program (CHIP), establish a more realistic asset test for working
families, and remove the 90-day waiting period for uninsured children.
Health care leaders believe restoring the cuts made to CHIP in 2003 is
a critical and important first step in reducing the number of uninsured
Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation --
1.4 million children -- 700,000 of these children are eligible for CHIP or
children's Medicaid but are not enrolled. "This is an embarrassment," said
Texas Hospital Association President and CEO Dan Stultz, MD. "Texas can,
and should, do better."
"Texas simply can't afford to wait any longer to address its growing
uninsured population, especially when generous federal matching funds are
available for CHIP," said Texas Medical Association President Ladon W.
Homer, MD.
Since 1998, Texas has forfeited more than $900 million to other states
because we haven't used all the federal CHIP funds available to our state.

Children's Medicaid and CHIP return Texans' tax dollars to the state. By
using these programs to insure more Texas children, Texas can stretch
limited tax dollars. For every dollar Texas invests in Medicaid, the
federal government returns $1.54. The federal match for CHIP is even more
generous -- $2.63 for every dollar Texas invests.
High rates of uninsured Texans create higher taxes and health care
costs for businesses, taxpayers, and those fortunate enough to have health
insurance. Dr. Homer added, "It's important state legislators recognize
that gaps in health care coverage, even for a short period of time,
undermine the health and well-being of children." More than 70 percent of
children who lost CHIP or children's Medicaid became uninsured.
When children do not have health insurance, they are less likely to
receive preventive health care. Their families often rely on community
emergency departments for their medical care. Without the benefit of the
federal CHIP or Medicaid matching dollars, local taxpayers end up paying
the full costs of caring for uninsured children.
However, lawmakers can make a difference with their vote today and
during the next 60 days by passing legislation to capture federal dollars
and provide hard-working parents an affordable way to insure their
children. "CHIP is good medicine for Texas children and good for Texas
business," said Dr. Homer.
The Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association applaud
all the Texas lawmakers listed below who understand the importance of
restoring CHIP cuts so that hard-working Texas families have vital health
care services.
HB 109 Authors: Reps. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston); John E. Davis
(R-Houston); Dawnna M. Dukes (D-Austin); Kirk T. England (R-Grand Prairie);
Aaron Pena (D-Edinburg).
HB 109 Co-Authors: Roberto R. Alonzo (D-Dallas); Rafael Anchia
(D-Dallas); Kevin Bailey (D-Houston); Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio);
Harold V. Dutton Jr. (D-Houston); Craig Eiland (D-Galveston); Stephen J.
Frost (D-Atlanta); Helen Giddings (D-Dallas); Veronica Gonzales
(D-McAllen); Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles (D-Alice); Ryan Guillen (D-Rio
Grande City); Abel Herrero (D-Robstown); Terri Hodge (D-Dallas); Mark S.
Homer (D-Paris); Charles L. "Chuck" Hopson (D-Jacksonville); Donna Howard
(D-Austin); James L. "Jim" Keffer (D-Eastland); Susan King (R-Abilene);
Tracy O. King (D-Batesville); Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville); Armando A.
"Mando" Martinez (D-Weslaco); Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio); Borris
L. Miles (D-Houston); Richard J. "Rick" Noriega (D-Houston); Solomon P.
Ortiz Jr. (D-Corpus Christi); Paula Pierson (D-Arlington); Inocente
"Chente" Quintanilla (D-Tornillo); John Zerwas (R-Richmond).
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing
more than 41,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in
Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state.
TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Founded in 1930, THA is the leadership organization and principal
advocate for the state's hospitals and health care systems. One of the
largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents more than 85
percent of the state's hospitals and health care systems, which employ some
320,000 health care professionals statewide.
Pam Udall, TMA, (512) 370-1382; Cell: (512) 413-6807;
Brent Annear, TMA, (512) 370-1381; Cell: (512) 656-7320;
Amanda Engler, THA, (512) 465-1050; Cell: (512) 517-1133;

SOURCE Texas Hospital Association; Texas Medical Association

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