House Representative

Coleman, Garnet F.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/26/2007

Rep. Coleman Urges Congress to Maintain Federal Funding for CHIP

~ National legislation will determine future health coverage for as many as 900,000 eligible CHIP children in Texas ~


(Austin) -- State Representative Garnet F. Coleman (Houston) sent a letter to each and every member of the Texas Congressional delegation this week urging them to support Senate Bill 1224, which will reauthorize CHIP in a manner that best helps Texas provide coverage to the hundreds of thousands of children that are eligible for CHIP.

"This legislation is key to the continued efforts to fully restore CHIP in Texas," Rep. Coleman said. "Currently, more than 9 million children in America are uninsured, including one out of every five Texas children. Despite our recent shortcomings, we need Congress to look favorably on the state of Texas when they appropriate the federal funds or else more and more Texas children will lose their health coverage."

Texas has 1.3 million uninsured children -- more than any other state in the nation. At least 600,000-700,000 of those uninsured children would be eligible for CHIP, possibly more.

"Even with HB 109, Texas would still be enrolling 200,000 to 300,000 fewer children in CHIP than are eligible for the program," Rep. Coleman said. "My concern is that Congress will look at Texas' inaction and disinterest over the past four years and not allocate enough dollars to Texas to ensure we can fully restore CHIP in the coming years."

Over the past years, Texas has lost $913.4 million in federal matching funds for CHIP to other states because of the Texas Legislature's inability to enroll every eligible child in CHIP. Over 500,000 children were enrolled in CHIP in 2003, and despite recent efforts made by the Texas Legislature, over 100,000 fewer children would be enrolled in CHIP in 2009 than were enrolled in 2003.

"Many Texas lawmakers thought passing HB 109 was enough -- that we could go home to our districts and tell everyone, 'we fixed CHIP,' " Rep. Coleman said. "But the fight to fully restore CHIP didn't end at the end of our session. It requires constant vigilance, and I will continue to do everything in my power to support the children of Texas year-round. I believe our work isn't over until our state laws match federal guidelines to ensure every eligible child is enrolled in CHIP."

Please see the attached background sheet and copy of the letter Rep. Coleman sent to the Texas Congressional delegation for more information.


Contact: Phillip Martin
(512) 463-0524