House Bill One May Cut Healthcare Funding If Passed - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/16/03

House Bill One May Cut Healthcare Funding If Passed

The front steps of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center served as a forum for WTOS. Armed with flags and harsh words against health cuts, these organizers say legislators in Austin have a tough job waiting on them.

"Now they'll be able to come back and lobby in favor of less cuts that's what we're hoping for. The democrats will side with less cuts as opposed to balancing the budget on the backs of the children and families of Texas," says Leon Williams, of WTOS.

Because of a $9.9 billion state deficit, the House is proposing a bill drastically cutting healthcare costs and leaving Texas children and senior citizens financially stranded.

Under House Bill One:

  • More than 330,000 children will be cut from Medicaid.
  • More than 400,000 child vaccinations will be eliminated.
  • 56,000 elderly and disabled will lose home healthcare.
  • More than 17,000 pregnant women will be cut from receiving healthcare services but that's only half the problem.

Crystal Stinnett, receives health insurance for her two daughters through the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Under the House bill, CHIP, too, would suffer. Crystal fears her days of having enough insurance to pay for doctor's visits, immunizations, and medications for her two children are numbered.

"My kids won't have insurance and it's hard to get insurance when you have pre-existing things and it's hard to get it anywhere else," says Stinnett.

And without CHIP, she says paying for healthcare will be impossible.

"I live paycheck to paycheck just like everybody and medical bills are too much when you don't make enough to meet what you've got and when you don't have any help you're in trouble," says Stinnett.

But thousands just like Crystal face the same problem, and that's why WTOS says it's now up to legislators to have compassion for those who are less fortunate when crunching budget numbers.

"They have a social responsibility for the welfare of all people's especially those who are not able to speak for themselves so the churches traditionally have been able to speak on behalf of the poor," says Bishop Placido Rodriguez, CMF, Lubbock Catholic Diocese.

Though all of this sounds like bad news, the good news is State Representative Carl Isett says the state budget deficit isn't as bad as we thought. There is actually $ 4 billion more to work with. He says the bill has not passed yet and that all health and education programs will receive money where needed.

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