Testimony to the House Public Health Committee in Support of HB 1879
Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country, with about 70 percent of teen births to older teens, ages 18 and 19. House Bill 1879 by Chair Sarah Davis would allow 19-year-old women aging out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Children’s Medicaid to automatically enroll in Healthy Texas Women (HTW). HTW offers preventive care — including well-woman exams, contraception, and health screenings — that support women’s health and reduce unintended pregnancies. Nineteen-year-olds already qualify for HTW once they age out of CHIP and Children’s Medicaid, but many don’t know that it exists. Auto-enrollment is a smart policy step that reduces excess red tape, improves access to preventive care, and decreases state costs by reducing teen and unintended pregnancies.