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Children Are Our Most Precious Resource

Texas is great but we can do better.

Children are our most precious resource. If you were to compare our gross state product with other nations' gross national product we would have the eighth largest economy in the world--and on a per-capita basis our economy is number two in the world.

But Texas is number two in these United States in the number of children living in poverty. That's 1.5 million children--we ought to be ashamed.

We are 46th in the nation in the number of immunized children and Texas has the highest number of at-risk children with diabetes in these United States.

Worse still, Texas is number one in the percent of children without health insurance. Since September of 2003, 180,423 more children have been dropped off the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)--that's a 35.6 percent drop.

From June of 2003 to December of 2003--the most recent comparison data available--Texas led the nation in the decline of the number of children enrolled in CHIP. In fact, more than half of all U.S. children dropped off the CHIP rolls were from Texas.

I am a fiscal conservative. I am a common sense conservative. I would rather spend $98 a month insuring a child--including prescription drugs--and $500 immunizing that child for a life-time than $6,700 for one hospital stay for that child!

The federal government gives Texas a 72 percent match on the Children's Health Insurance dollars, and that $6,700 we're paying for that one hospital stay is picked up by ever sky-rocketing local property taxes.

This state is abdicating its responsibilities in health care--and ignoring state challenges is creating local crises. Children are our most precious resource and we must begin treating them like they are.


[signed]
Carole Keeton Strayhorn
Texas Comptroller