May 11, 2007
CHIP administrative issues

State Rep. Garnet Coleman explains why legislative policies aren't the only reason why CHIP enrollment drops.

Administrative directives are policies that govern the administration of CHIP. These policies are not state laws, which must be established by the Texas Legislature, and they are not commission rules, which must be officially adopted by the commission. These policies may be created or changed at any time by the direction of HHSC Commissioner Albert Hawkins or other high-ranking administrators.

Policy changes made by the HHSC can happen at any time without notice to the Legislature -- it really can be done as easily as you turn a faucet on or off. Those changes are also issued with minimum notice to CHIP recipients; in fact, only two days' notice was given to many of the thousands of families whose children lost CHIP coverage this month. What happens to the children who had doctor appointments this week? How can they be expected to find new health coverage in two days time?

We must encourage HHSC to adopt policies and issue administrative directives that are inclusive, and not exclusive, for providing CHIP coverage for our children.

Remember, CHIP isn't an entitlement. It's an insurance program. Eligible families pay for CHIP coverage. Would you stand for this kind of administrative runaround from your health insurance provider? Eligibility for, and availability of, CHIP shouldn't be jerked around. It's neither compassionate nor prudent to operate this way.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 11, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo