May 04, 2007
Dewhurst finally sees the light on CHIP

I've been told that the best way to deal with someone who finally comes around to your way of thinking after resisting for a long time is to pretend he's always agreed with you. With that in mind, let me just say how nice it is to see this.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Thursday that he has been persuaded to drop his opposition to a House bill expanding coverage in the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Dewhurst has been under pressure from community activists and children's advocates to give a year of coverage instead of requiring families to reapply every six months.

"I have been increasingly persuaded to go to a one-time paper application for 12 months' eligibility," Dewhurst said in an interview.

He added that he wants some income checks for families whose incomes are near the upper limits but that those families would not have to complete a new application.

Dewhurst said he thinks the majority of the Senate will support expansion of CHIP, the government-subsidized health insurance program for working families.

"I want and I believe my colleagues want to ensure that any and all children eligible under the CHIP program are covered," he said.

Barbara Best, Texas director of the Children's Defense Fund, applauded Dewhurst's change of heart.

"We thank him for doing the right thing. This is an excellent step he is taking to improve children's health coverage in Texas," Best said.

I don't know what prompted Dewhurst's change of heart - whether it was seeing the CHIP rolls drop again, or the realization that the chucklehead caucus wants to blow even more money on property tax cuts, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, he's seen the light, and I'm glad for it. I join Ms. Best in thanking him for that.

Meanwhile, the Observer notes that among the myriad explanations being offered for the drop in CHIP re-enrollments, don't overlook the obvious one: that the Accenture fiasco had a large role in it. We're going to pay for that mess for years to come. Heck of a job, Albert.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 04, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo

Its amazing that Dewhurst has changed his mind because of the numbers. There has to be more to it, if he cares so much about it - why isn't there a hearing for the CHIP Bill?
One thing that has not been mentioned in any report about the roles falling in CHIP is the increase in numbers in medicaid - the report stated for this month Children's Medicaid increased by more than 60,000 in May. I am torn by this - there are more kiddos on Medicaid, but that means more folks are poor in Texas. The good Lt. Gov has a window of opportunity to make some good happen - whatever his reasons are - i just hope he moves on it.

Posted by: AXPS on May 5, 2007 5:52 AM

the chucklehead caucus wants to blow even more money on property tax cuts

Yes, because heaven forbid the people who actually PAY that money might get a break without bloggers who want to spend it for them getting apoplectic and calling names. :)

Posted by: kevin whited on May 5, 2007 9:04 AM

Ah, Kevin, as always you zero in on the real issue: Blogger incivility! Who cares about fiscal responsibility or meeting the state's financial responsibilities when we can cluck our tongues about naughty words?

I know you don't bother yourself with such trivia, if you'd followed the links, you'd have learned that those wild tax-and-spenders Warren Chisum and Steve Ogden also opposed the additional tax cuts. Not that it matters, of course. I used an epithet, and that automatically invalidates what I said. Thank you so much for showing me the light.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on May 5, 2007 3:03 PM