TMA signed onto a March of Dimes and Texas Pediatric Society letter asking Gov. Rick Perry to urge the Texas congressional delegation to support continued Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding beyond 2015. Though the program will run through 2019, federal funding for CHIP expires Oct. 1, 2015, unless Congress extends it.
"Thanks to leaders like you, between 84-87 percent of children in Texas were insured in 2012 — a record high. Texas CHIP is a major part of this success story, providing health coverage to over half a million Texas children each month for a total of 999,838 Texas children served (in 2012)," the letter states.
Since CHIP's inception in 1997, it has halved the number of low-income, uninsured children nationwide — from 25 percent in 1997 to 13 percent in 2012 — and has improved health outcomes and access to care for children and pregnant women, TMA and dozens of other organizations that signed the letter told the governor.
Texas CHIP also provides women with prenatal health care and preventive services during pregnancy.
"If Congress doesn't act, more than 7.8 million children nationwide — more than 50 percent of those insured by CHIP — would lose their coverage by 2016. Likewise, pregnant women enrolled in CHIP could be left without other sources of prenatal care, jeopardizing the health of their newborns. We fear that, without CHIP, our state's uninsured rate would increase significantly and the health of children and families in Texas would be in jeopardy," the letter concludes.
Action, May 2, 2014