Why Talk of a CHIP Shortfall So Early?

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Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102

January 17, 2002

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Presumably, it was never the intent of the Legislature to under-fund CHIP. There is every indication that legislators believed they had adequately funded the program in May 2001. When SB 1, the appropriations act for Texas' 2002-2003 budget was adopted, there were no public discussions at all suggesting that freezing or capping CHIP enrollment was anticipated, despite the fact that the program was allocated $14 million state dollars (general revenue: GR) less than had been requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). HHSC asked stakeholders in August for input on CHIP cost-cutting approaches, but indicated that the information was for long-term planning rather than any nearterm concern. In October 2001, there was statewide press coverage when increased premium rates for CHIP health plans were negotiated. Nowhere in the discussion of these increases by state agency staff or Legislators was there any mention of a threat to cap or freeze CHIP enrollment.