by Steven Ertelt
November 6, 2006
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The state of Texas will soon join a handful of others in implementing a new program the Bush administration established allowing Medicaid funds to be used to help pregnant women and their unborn children. The program could help poor women that may consider abortions because of financial reasons.
In 2002, President Bush unveiled a new administration policy allowing unborn children to be covered under the federal-state CHIP program that provides health insurance coverage for children in poor families.
Several states have taken up the federal government on the offer and Texas is the latest.
Linda Hook, the nurse program manager at the Metropolitan Health District in San Antonio says the state block grant that funds maternal and child health services for pregnant women frequently runs out.
She is glad to see the state take advantage of the federal government’s expanded CHIP program, as state lawmakers voted to have Texas participate.
"This will definitely bring down some barriers," Hook told the San Antonio Express newspaper. "We know having a healthy baby pays off for everyone."
"We were having lapses insuring these babies," she said. "Now Texas is ahead of the game for once. This is looking at what we can do to have a healthy child."
Under the CHIP program, an unborn child will receive 12 months of health care coverage, which, in turn, entitles pregnant women to pregnancy-related coverage as well. The one year period begins as soon as the mother enrolls in the program and would provide continued coverage for infants after birth.
The new program begins in January, the newspaper reported, and anyone interested in registering can sign up at a local community health provider.
Hook told the newspaper she expected 3,200 women to sign up the first year and Ted Hughes, a spokesman for the Health and Human Services Commission, estimates 67,000 women across the state will participate.
Illinois, Rhode Island, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Washington have also adopted the expanded CHIP program covering babies before birth.