TexasTribune, November 30, 2017
Matthew Choi and Claire Allbright

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It’s been two months since inaction in Congress put health insurance for more than 400,000 Texas children in jeopardy, and for people like Raquel Cruz, the uncertainty is taking a toll.

“To remove insurance from hardworking people that need it and that use it is just —,” Cruz said, pausing as she sobbed. “It’s just not fair.” 

Cruz, a single mother of three who lives in the Rio Grande Valley, has relied on the now-threatened Children's Health Insurance Program to cover her children's health care for more than 10 years. With two children currently benefiting from CHIP including a daughter about to go to college, Cruz fears what losing the program would mean for her family.

If the state shuts down CHIP, children will be redirected to the federal government's health care marketplace. Cruz said premiums on the marketplace are too expensive for her budget, but she may have no choice. 

“I’m going to be forced to look into the market and then possibly even get a second job, which will take me away from that time with my children,” Cruz said. “As a single mother, the whole load is on me.”

CHIP expired Sept. 30 after Congress failed to renew funding for the program that provides health insurance to millions of children in the country. Since then, low- and middle-income parents like Cruz have been anxiously wondering if Congress will renew the program before their children lose their benefits. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission predicts state coffers can keep the program afloat until January. [...]

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