Comparing the House and Senate CHIP Bills: House Would Cover More Children

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Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102

May 21, 2007

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The House passed HB 109 by a 128-17 vote on April 3. This bill would reform the Children's Health Insurance Program by allowing children to re-apply for CHIP once a year instead of twice, eliminating a 90-day waiting period for coverage, and letting families deduct child care expenses when determining their eligibility. On Thursday, May 17, the Senate Finance Committee passed a different bill that would make most of the same improvements to CHIP but modify the 12-month coverage. As a result, HHSC projects the Senate bill would cover 33,351 fewer kids than the House bill. Higher CHIP enrollment is also needed to avoid future forfeiting of millions of dollars in federal CHIP funds. The full Senate will vote on HB 109 this week, and a conference committee to negotiate a compromise is likely.