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Press Release
August 3, 2006
Contact: Doris Sanchez, Press Secretary
(512) 463-0385
Joint Select Committee to Study the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool Deficit

AUSTIN, TX - On Monday, July 31, Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. was appointed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to serve on the Joint Select Committee to Study the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool Deficit. The Committee will address how the state can best structure the program to keep associated premiums low, while providing maximum coverage for enrollees.

"I am extremely proud that Texas is one of thirty states that has established a health insurance risk pool and will work hard to ensure that the THIRP is well-managed and fairly funded," Sen. Lucio said.

According to Sen. Lucio, "In today's overstrained health care system, insurance coverage is vital, and we as state leaders have an obligation to do everything in our power to ensure we help cover as many people as possible. Those with debilitating illnesses and chronic conditions deserve access to first-rate medical care, and I hope that as a Committee, we are able to make recommendations that will reduce barriers to long-term care."

The Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool (THIRP) was established in 1998 as a safety net for individuals with medical diagnoses that have led private insurance plans to deny them coverage. The THIRP currently covers over a quarter of a million Texans who might otherwise be uninsured.

Other appointees to the Committee include Senators Kip Averitt (McGregor), Robert Duncan (Lubbock), and Representatives Larry Taylor (Friendswood), Gene Seaman (Corpus Christi) and Rene Oliveira (Brownsville). The Committee must report its findings to the Legislature before the start of the 80th Legislative Session beginning in January 2007.

Note: Staff member handling this issue is Ms. Kate Volti, policy analyst, 512-463-0127.