Twelve-Month Children's Medicaid: The Right Step for Texas' Neediest Children

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Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102

March 18, 2009

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Long-Term Costs Due to Leaving Kids Uninsured Outweigh Short-Term Savings

The House Human Services Committee will hear seven bills Thursday, March 19, that would extend the coverage period for Texas Children’s Medicaid from the current 6 months to 12 months. This change would benefit Texans from every practical angle:

  • reducing the number of uninsured Texas children by 25 percent; reducing avoidable hospitalizations to cut costs-per-child by about the same amount;
  • improving access to well-child care to improve health and comply with federal court requirements;
  • reducing real taxpayer costs by bringing back federal tax dollars to Texas; and
  • dramatically reducing workloads for Texas’ crisis-ridden eligibility system.

Legislators concerned about the cost of 12-month coverage must look past the state budget bill to consider the huge price paid by Texas taxpayers for costs passed on to local jurisdictions when the state leaves needs unmet and federal dollars on the table. This Policy Page reviews the history of and arguments for 12-month enrollment for children.