Senator Rodney Ellis, Advocacy Inc. and the Houston Area Urban League Hold Press Conference on Children's Health Insurance Program
(Houston)// -- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Advocacy Inc. and the Houston Area Urban League held a press conference today, at the Third Ward Multi-Service Center, in an effort to increase awareness of Texas' Children Health Insurance Program, and bring attention to funding cuts that have denied many children in Texas access to health care. The group unveiled billboards to be posted around Houston, in both English and Spanish, that provide parents with information on how they can enroll there child in CHIP.
"It's unfortunate that in 2004, with all of the advancements in health care we have made, that the children of our state must suffer because we fail to provide them with access to quality and affordable health care," said Senator Ellis. "I can't think of a more important commodity worth investing in than the health and future of our children." Jacquie Brennan, Managing Attorney for the Houston office of Advocacy, Inc., stated, "Advocacy Inc. would like express the agency's support of Senator Ellis's effort to restore CHIP to the program it was ...Between the higher costs to the consumers, the increased efforts to screen out families during the eligibility process, and the slashed CHIP benefits, the children of Texas have been badly hurt. Restoring the levels of benefits, the services covered, and eliminating the new obstacles in the legislation will help parents who are struggling to provide healthcare for their families." Sylvia Brooks, Executive Director of the Houston Area Urban League added, "What kind of message are we sending as a society when we have such an abundance of resources, yet our children are forced to go without health care."
Despite the fact that Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the country, the Legislature cut funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program in 2003. According to a recent study by the Kaiser Foundation, the Texas cuts were the largest to any CHIP program in the country. As a result, 147,000 children in Texas have been deleted from CHIP rolls this past year. In Harris and Fort Bend Counties alone, approximately 35,000 children have lost CHIP coverage this year. Even those children lucky enough to have maintained CHIP coverage will experience a dramatic decrease in the number of services covered under the program this year, including vision, dental and hospice care.