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Statement of Robert A. Jackson State Director, AARP-Texas on Passage of CHIP Legislation Today

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2007-05-28 11:58:59     
AARP Texas

"There's no higher priority than the health and welfare of our children. We applaud the Legislature for recognizing this today. In a state not known nationally for taking care of its most vulnerable, adding 100,000 children to the rolls of the insured is most welcome news. Some of our lawmakers exhibited real statesmanship in fighting a good battle to get the best bill passed under the current circumstances. We commend them for their efforts.

"Unfortunately, during the last four years, Texas has marched full speed in reverse, dropping 212,000 children from the rolls of CHIP. More sick children without insurance has resulted in more children missing school, more showing up in our emergency rooms and more working parents having to stay at home to take care of them. Not funding this program to its capacity has been, and continues to be, penny wise and pound foolish.

"While today's vote is an important first step, we're hardly where we need to be. Texas tops the nation in the proportion of uninsured with 22 percent, compared with 12 percent nationally. That's 1.4 million children. Overall, 5.5 million Texans do not have health insurance, roughly a quarter of our population. Many of our younger AARP members -- those in the 50 to 64-age bracket -- are particularly vulnerable. From cradle to grave, the Texas health care safety net needs to be strengthened. The current status quo is unacceptable for any state, let alone one with our rich natural resources.

"As part of a new multigenerational campaign, AARP will intensify its efforts to reduce the number of uninsured children in Texas. We will work hand-in-hand with public officials who prioritize the health and welfare of our young ones, and hold those insensitive to their needs accountable."

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