I sure hope so, that's all I can say. It's taken way, way too long.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said that a plan to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program will clear the Senate today.
"Of course this bill is going to pass today," Dewhurst told a group of advocates from the Network of Texas IAF Organizations.
The Senate's version of the plan will add about 100,000 children to CHIP by loosening restrictions put in place during a budget crunch in 2003. It would eliminate a 90-day waiting period and allow children to stay in the program for a full year instead of having to apply every six months.
However, unlike the House-approved version, the Senate version would have the eligibility of many families checked after six months. This would ensure that the state remain "true to the standards of eligibility," Dewhurst said.
The House-approved version of the plan would add about 33,000 more children to CHIP than the Senate-approved version, according to the Health and Human Services Commission.
But Dewhurst said there is no set number for how many children would be added.
"I am committed, I have always been committed, that any child that is eligible ought to be on the CHIP roll," he said to advocates' applause.
The House and Senate differences will likely be reconciled in a conference committee. Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, said both the House and Senate versions would be an improvement over the current rules.
"People in our state are having to die because they can't afford to live," he said.