Kaiser Highlights News About Children's Health Coverage In Iowa, Texas

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Summaries of recent news about children's health coverage in Iowa and Texas appear below.

* Iowa: Implementing a plan to provide coverage to all children in the state could take up to four years, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. Earlier this year, the state Legislature approved a measure that will put in place a two-phased process for establishing universal coverage for children. In the first phase, which begins in July 2009, the state will expand health coverage for low-income children. That phase is expected to reduce the number of uninsured children from 53,000 to 19,000. A special commission is developing a plan to cover the remaining children, as well as more adults. The commission is headed by former Govs. Terry Branstad (R) and Tom Vilsack (D) and includes representatives from business, labor, health care, insurance and consumer advocacy groups (Glover, AP/Chicago Tribune, 8/12).


* Texas: The state's Health and Human Services Commission is requesting only a slight increase in state SCHIP funding for fiscal year 2009 because officials predict enrollment will grow by less than 1% next year, the Dallas Morning News reports. Enrollment in the program reached nearly 477,000 this month, compared with 300,000 a year ago. However, commission spokesperson Stephanie Goodman said that agency researchers expect enrollment to average between 480,000 and 486,000 over the coming years because the Texas economy is better than many other states' and unemployment is relatively low.

Enrollment in the program is expected to grow by 0.7% in FY 2010 and by 1.4% in FY 2011. Goodman said that in the next two-year budget cycle, SCHIP is expected to cost $2.5 billion, up from $2.1 billion in the current two-year budget cycle. State funding would account for $700 million, up from $600 million. Goodman said, "We have no motivation to low ball because we'd just end up in a budget mess" (Garrett, Dallas Morning News, 8/11).

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