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Child Health Cuts Unlikely In Texas - Funds Sufficient Even If Congress Can't Reach Deal, Say State Officials

Texas is improbable to face cutbacks in its Children's Health Insurance Program even if Congress cannot arrive at a compromise on funding this year.

State officials said that the state has adequate funding from existing federal grants to carry on the program for at least a year.

Stephanie Goodman, a representative for the Health and Human Services Commission, said there is sufficient money to cover an expected enrollment increase of 135,000 children. The boost in enrollment was authorized by the Legislature this year in a bill designed to reverse cuts made in 2003 when the state faced a budget crisis.

Goodman said eligibility workers are reassuring families that they will not lose CHIP. The situation is different in some other states that have exhausted all of their federal funds.

The federal government provides more than $2 in matching funds for each dollar the state spends on CHIP, which is designed for children of families who earn too much to meet the criteria for Medicaid but not enough to pay for private insurance. Texas covers children living in families who earn up to 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, or $41,300 for a family of four.

Enrollment Down

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