HB 1599 Improves Health Coverage Enrollment of Currently Eligible Kids

Updated April 4, 2023

Support HB 1599 by Reps. Bucy, Harless, Oliverson, Jetton, and Bonnen

Uses Already-Verified Information to Facilitate Health Coverage Enrollment for Currently Eligible Kids


  • Reduce duplication of costly and inefficient administrative effort by HHSC staff.
  • Reduce the children’s uninsured rate, connecting more kids to the health care they need. Texas has the nation’s worst uninsured rate for kids, but 400,000 of the state’s 995,000 uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid insurance or CHIP. *
  • Ensure that only already-verified, currently eligible children whose parents provide affirmative consent will be enrolled.


  • States such as Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia successfully implemented it.
    • A 2013 Mathematica study on South Carolina’s implementation found that it decreased the number of state staff needed to process paperwork, which lowered costs, and reduced unnecessary loss of children’s health coverage each year.
  • The House Select Committee on Health Care Reform voted this bill out of committee unanimously (10-0) and the House approved it 106-40.
  • At the House hearing on HB 1599, more than 60 witnesses registered in favor of the bill, zero registered against it, and only HHSC registered “on” it (as a resource witness).
  • Groups that registered in support of HB 1599 include Texans Care for Children, Texas 2036, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Texas Association of Business, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, American Diabetes Association, Texas Pediatric Society, and others.


  • HB 1599 allows HHSC to use already-verified information – such as income, household size, and citizenship – from other state programs to move verified, currently eligible kids from bureaucratic gridlock to an “express lane” for enrollment in Medicaid health insurance or CHIP. 
  • For example, if HHSC determines that a child is eligible for SNAP based on income or citizenship information provided by the family, then HHSC can use that same already verified  information to determine eligibility for Medicaid rather than re-evaluating the child’s income or citizenship using its own methods. HHSC can then enroll that child into coverage if a parent affirmatively opts into this express lane option.
  • HB 1599 keeps in place the state’s current Medicaid and CHIP eligibility requirements.  

* “Kids Count.” Every Texan, 23 Mar. 2021, https://everytexan.org/data-center/kids-count/