The Complete Census Count Committee is a five-member committee of volunteers appointed by Galveston’s City Council to encourage businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and everyday, ordinary residents to help count every living soul in the city limits for purposes of ensuring our census count is as complete as it can be.
Our comments in these commentaries, which we will submit weekly, are intended to help everyone understand the importance of a complete count.
Some have suggested we should focus less on recovering the taxes we pay and more on our allocation of representation in the state legislature and Congress. The two are inextricably linked. Those chosen to represent us in legislative bodies are, in effect, trustees of the taxes we pay and are charged with allocating those funds in a fair and equitable manner.
The committee’s concern with lost revenue relates to ensuring the population that pays those taxes and that should receive the benefit from those taxes is accurately represented in both the allocation of decision makers and the dollars those decision makers control.
Results of the census count will guide the allocation of funding for more than 55 federal programs ranging from highway planning and construction to the National School Lunch Program.
As a former member of the Texas House of Representatives who worked primarily on health care coverage issues, I’m especially concerned with the impact of an undercount on Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other programs that provide coverage for those who cannot afford private health insurance coverage.
Recent studies by Georgetown University tell us that, in Galveston County, these programs cover almost one-third of our children 18 and younger. A short count means that many Galveston children will not have access to the kind of care that focuses on keeping them healthy, as well as taking care of them when they’re sick.
In addition, the CHIP Perinate program covers essential prenatal care to women who are ineligible for Medicaid but lack private insurance coverage, and the Title V Maternal and Child Health program provides some coverage for children, adolescents, and pregnant women who are ineligible for Medicaid, CHIP, or CHIP Perinate coverage.
Access to preventive care, health maintenance and wellness, as well as coverage when we’re sick is critical when we consider the impacts of responding to either widespread disease outbreak such as we’re seeing with the coronavirus now or what we consider more common disease outbreaks such as the increased flu cases we’ve seen this year.
The committee isn’t charged with defending or advocating for any specific taxpayer supported program. Our only concerns are that we’re able to choose as many representatives as we’re entitled to and that, to the extent those representatives have the responsibility to allocate dispersal of the taxes we pay, we get our share back to spend in our community.
Help us have a complete count. Say yes to the 2020 census.