Bureaucracy hurting access to health care

April 27, 2019 GMT

Bureaucratic inefficiencies in state government aimed at saving money are having an adverse effect on the health and well-being of Texas children. HB 342 by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini and state Rep. Philip Cortez would fix this.

Lack of uniform policies in Medicaid and the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, is causing children to fall off the rolls. At last count, 1 in 10 children in the state lacked health insurance coverage. An estimated 350,000 of those uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but are not enrolled.

This legislation would allow children who qualify for the program to remain enrolled for 12 months before being required to provide updated family information to determine if they remain eligible. Under the current system, the state requires checks on a family’s income level every few months to ensure they still meet eligibility guidelines.


Many children lose their coverage not because their families no longer qualify but because of paperwork issues.

An estimated 4,100 children fall off the rolls each month due to procedural errors. By contrast, fewer than 400 children lose eligibility because of increased family income.

In 2017, 47,014 children were taken off the Medicaid and CHIP rolls; in 2018 that number was 52,875, according to the Health and Human Services Commission. Approximately 40 percent of them were back within six months after paperwork problems were cleared up.

The bureaucratic hoops the state is making families jump through have resulted only in more paper shuffling and little money saved.

Children who cycle on and off a health care plan end up in expensive emergency rooms during those off periods. Without access to their established health providers, they miss school, which also costs school districts money.

There is a more efficient and cost-effective way of keeping children healthy. HB 342 is it.