The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, May 04, 2006

CHIP In The Paper... Again

Much like the song that never ends, this issue goes on and on my friend:

Tim and Judy Zulewski were handed an etched glass trophy Wednesday for dutifully maintaining their family's enrollment in the Children's Health Insurance Program for more than six years.

The problem was that their children just got dropped from coverage.

Alexander and Amanda Zulewski were the first to enroll in Bexar County's CHIP program in 2000. Their coverage never lapsed until a letter from the state arrived Friday stating it would end Sunday.

"I really wanted to sit down and cry," Judy Zulewski said. "My kids need this so bad."

After learning of the situation at the annual "Breakfast of Healthcare Champions," local health advocates and state officials scrambled Monday afternoon. They determined that the Zulewskis weren't given enough time to provide clear proof of income under a new CHIP eligibility system.

The article goes on to state that the Zulewskis, like every other family whose income is tagged as too high (too high, of course, being a relative term as the maximum income a family can make and still qualify for CHIP is about $40,000), were given three whole days, only one of them a business day, to resolve this issue. Three whole days for working families to respond. Or their children lose coverage.

30,000 more children have been cut off of the rolls since last month- a number that would've doubled had the HHS Commissioner not intervened a few weeks ago. Nearly 9,000 children in Bexar County alone have been kicked off of the CHIP roster since December.

I have no sympathy for anyone who voted for these cuts at any point and time and have no reservation in slapping those pols over the head with this issue time and time again.

This issue isn't going to stop bleeding for a long, long time. The Chet Edwards campaign in 2004 showed how to successfully push on this issue and Carlos Uresti and several others have made good use of HB 2292 since then.

Placing this issue right alongside school finance makes for a heavy one-two punch on the Democratic side headed into November.