Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
August 21, 2007
Contact: Kenneth Besserman
(512) 463-0113

Ellis joins Children's Defense Fund, Advocacy Groups, and Local Legislators to Launch Campaign to Enroll Every Eligible Houston Child in CHIP

(HOUSTON) --Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis joined the Children's Defense Fund of Texas, leaders from Houston health advocacy organizations, and other local legislators to inform Texas parents of the new policy changes passed during the 80th Legislative Session that will simplify the CHIP enrollment process.

"Hopefully these changes will help more Texas children receive the healthcare they need," Senator Ellis said.

Effective September 1, 2007, most children on CHIP will have coverage for 12 full months and will no longer have to reapply twice a year, uninsured children will no longer have a 90 day waiting period to receive care and child expenses will be taken into account when determining income. The new policy changes are expected to restore CHIP enrollment to 127,000 Texas children by 2009.

Under Senator Ellis' tenure as finance chair, CHIP enrollment in Texas peaked in May 2002 with just over 529,000 children. Unfortunately, in 2003, faced with a $10 billion shortfall, the Legislature decided to balance the budget on the backs of our state's most vulnerable. When these changes took place, over 200,000 children were knocked off the state rolls, including more than 30,000 in Harris County.

During the 80th Legislative session, Senator Ellis filed SB 337, which would have fully restored CHIP funding and provide healthcare to all uninsured Texas Children, however the bill did not receive the support from the Legislature it needed to become law.

"When one of our children is sick their ability to see a doctor should not depend on how much money their parents have in their pocketbook. It is unfortunate that the Texas Legislature did not fully fund CHIP and so many deserving Texas children will go without the healthcare they need. But we will continue to fight to insure that all Texas children have access to affordable and quality healthcare," Senator Ellis said.