Just went you thought that legislators understood the importance of medical and dental care, especially for children, it has been reported that Texas is considering cutting dental programs for poor children. There is even some talk that the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) could be cut. This report comes from Donna Domino of Drbicuspid.com
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was instituted in 1997 as Title XXI of the Social Security Act. The CHIP plans are intended to be used by families who make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance.
Within the guidelines set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Centers (CMS) each state sets its own rules for its CHIP plans. States may run a separate child health program as Texas does or may cover children under Medicaid expansion or even use of combination of both.
Eligibility to participate in CHIP in Texas
Texas had already instituted a series of measures meant to keep only eligible children in the program.
Legislators imposed rules making parents re-apply for benefits every year. Parents have to produce payroll stubs to prove the actual amount of their income. There are even limitations on the kind of car parents can drive to keep their children eligible.
Cutting the program jeopardizes federal funding
Preparing for the submission of the 2011 budget, Governor Rick Perry asked for a 5% cut from all state agencies.
Although the Governor specifically suggested exempting Medicaid and CHIP services, altering the budgets of these programs could result in a loss of federal matching funds of by as much as $15 billion. One proposal called for reductions in fees to doctors treating CHIP and Medicaid participants.
Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, states must continue to fund programs like Medicaid and CHIP at least at their current levels or forfeit future health care funding.
Texas tried this approach before and lost
In testimony before the Texas Legislature last year, well known Waco economist Dr. M. Ray Perryman reminded lawmakers that cutting funding for Medicaid and CHIP with the resulting loss of federal funds had been tried in 2003 with disastrous results.
According to Dr. Perryman
“…every dollar in decreased funding resulted in $3.67 of additional costs, mainly through higher insurance premiums ($1.59), increases in local taxes and decreases in revenue ($0.58), and out-of-pocket and other costs ($1.50).”
Dr. Perryman also commented that
“Texas has long ranked at or near the bottom of all states in terms of the percentage of residents with private health insurance for a number of years”
Arizona considered cutting CHIP but backed down
Earlier this year Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer decided to shut down that state’s CHIP plan known as Kids Care. The Arizona KidsCare program was to have ended in June leaving 38,000 low-income children without benefits. Further cuts to 310,000 adults under Medicaid were scheduled to be cut in September.
But faced with the loss of massive federal funding, Governor Brewer rescinded the plan to cut both KidsCare and Medicaid.
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