In 2003 the Texas Legislature changed CHIPÎ¾to make it more restrictive. Houston State Representative Garnet Coleman introduced a bill today in the Health and Human Services Committee to change that.
"The purpose is to make our policy reducing uninsured children versus policing families and preventing them from getting coverage for their children."
Coleman says the 2003 restrictions caused a quarter million Texas children to lose their health coverage. HB 29-62 would restore CHIP to its pre-2003 levels, expand eligibility, remove assets tests and make it easier to renew coverage by eliminating in person interviews for renewal and using joint application and supplement forms for both CHIP and Medicaid. Most importantly it would expand the coverage period from six-months to a full year.
"That is one of the big pieces of this is having children insured for the period of time that it saves us money on the other end with the emergency room becoming the place where children are seen."
As far as the bills possibility of success, Coleman says you have to start somewhere.
"I think we can pass a CHIP bill that goes further than the existing law this session, how much further it goes depends on how much support we can get from the members on the floor."
Coleman believes he'll get that support because members know that health care reform is an increasingly important issue to voters.