I linked to this Chron article last week on the difficulties many eligible Texans have enrolling and staying enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Yesterday, I got an email from Jay Aiyer, who had a sensible suggestion for how to resolve this, which I present below:
One of the biggest tragedies facing our state is the growing number of uninsured children. The Children's Health Insurance Program, administered by the state, was supposed to bridge the gap and provide insurance for millions of uninsured Texans. Instead, they have managed to make a bad situation worse. Allowing a private vendor to take hundreds of thousands of kids off the list is not simply incompetence of the highest order, but immoral. The answer is simple, but it requires a different approach.
If you want to enroll low-income children into CHIP, go where the children are.
When I enrolled my daughter at school, I had to provide a myriad of information--name, contact numbers, immunization records, proof of residency, etc. But I was never asked about health insurance. By asking that basic question, a school would then have access to the insurance status of millions of children. Then based on residency and school lunch information, the District would have a ready pool of students who can be determined if they are CHIP eligible. The information would be computerized, and would allow millions of children to be enrolled automatically at their school.
The process is a basic one. But it requires the State using a little common sense and, most importantly, communicating with local entities.
In case you are wondering if this problem could ever really work, it already does, in states like California, North Carolina, Illinois and Washington. Texas needs to join in and save the lives of children accross this state.