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About 327,000 Texas children enrolled now, down from 529,000 in 2002.
Advocates for low-income families said a congressional deadlock might hurt future efforts to cover more uninsured children in Texas by increasing income limits. Such changes would have to be made by the Legislature.
Anne Dunkelberg, associate director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said if Texas wishes to reach the more than 300,000 children eligible for the program but not enrolled and continues covering pregnant women; it will require relying on more federal funds in coming years. She said the bill that President Bush vetoed last week would have provided those funds.
"This veto handcuffs Texas' ability to carry on reducing the number of uninsured children in our state," said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston.
A free-market group said Bush's veto was suitable. Mary Katherine Stout, vice president of policy for The Texas Public Policy Foundation, said continued expansion of government health insurance is "the wrong direction to go."
Stout said, “Ultimately you have limited resources, and the only way to be able to deliver care is to ration and cut costs.”
The federal reauthorization bill would keep on the program for five years. However, members of the Texas congressional delegation who voted against it deemed its $35 billion expansion too expensive.