Eligibility System Progress Report

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Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

July 14, 2008

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Access to health care, good nutrition, and cash assistance is vital to low-income Texas families who don’t earn enough to make ends meet, particularly during economic downturns. Yet, enrolling in programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid has gotten harder over the last year due to problems with TIERS—the new computer system—and a shortage in state workers that resulted from the Legislature’s failed attempt to privatize the system in 2006. Rebuilding and sustaining a viable eligibility system promises to be one of the most important challenges facing Texas in the years to come. Today, the Legislative Oversight Committee overseeing efforts to rebuild the eligibility system will hold a public hearing. The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will provide a progress report and present the benchmarks that will be used in determining whether to continue implementing TIERS. In this report, CPPP outlines recommendations for HHSC to consider.