Family income rule costs some Texans insurance coverage

Washington (AP) _ About half of the estimated 1.4 million uninsured children in Texas don't qualify for the state children's health insurance program.  Some are undocumented.  Some have pre-existing conditions that keep them from getting private coverage.  And some are like the Pacheco twins, whose mom earned too much overtime pay, pushing her household income above the program's limit.

For some children, qualifying for CHIP is about to get even more difficult.  This week, the Bush Administration directed states to make children wait a year before enrolling in the program, a guideline aimed at preventing families from dropping private insurance to enroll in CHIP.

While some in Texas are hoping to raise the limits to allow more coverage, president Bush and some in congress want to keep the income ceilings intact.  Children's advocates in Texas hope that one day the state will raise the income limits, which in the state is 200 percent of poverty level.  That's $41,300 for a family of four.  Last year, 41,523 children covered by CHIP left because their family income exceeded chip income limits, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Department.

The Bush Administration and many Republicans in congress, including those from Texas, fear expanding the program would lead to government-run health care and would be fiscally irresponsible.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)