Mayor Sylvester Turner urges Congress to save CHIP, kids

Mayor Sylvester Turner is urging the U.S. Congress to take action now to save the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or 450,000 Texas children could be at risk of losing health care.

That number includes 78,000 children on CHIP in Harris County and nearly 10,000 Harris County expectant mothers on CHIP’s perinatal program,

In an essay published by TribTalk, a publication of the Texas Tribune, Turner noted that Congress allowed the deadline for CHIP reauthorization to pass without action and authorization expired this past September.

“This is a problem with a solution,” Turner said. “In fact, the solution is rather simple: A bipartisan bill to fund CHIP through 2022 is currently before Congress.

“However, its renewal has been caught up in a political tug-of-war and used as collateral for other political agendas.”

Turner said the Texas program will run out of funds on Jan. 31.

“The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has requested $90 million from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – at best a stopgap measure that will extend the program through February,” he said. “…Even if funding is extended, those families may be receiving cancellation notices in February.

“In either scenario, more than 450,000 children in Texas will lose their health care in early 2018 if Congress fails to act,” Turner said.