PA Extends CHIP: Won’t Last Long Without Federal Action
As Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Pennsylvania, he warned it won’t last long if Congress doesn’t act soon. Federal funding for the program remains in doubt since congressional inaction allowed the program to expire Sept. 30, leaving 9 million children in danger of losing health care coverage.
Because federal funding accounts for all but about 10 percent of CHIP funding in the Commonwealth, more than 180,000 Pennsylvania children are at risk of being dropped when money is expected to run out in the first quarter of 2018.
When Wolf signed the bill on Dec. 15, he warned that it won’t go far without the approximately $405 million in missing federal money. CHIP provides free or low-cost health insurance options for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but do not have access to other health coverage.
Alabama was the first state to start notifying parents of plans to end the program by Feb. 1 in the absence of federal action. In Pennsylvania, Acting Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said she has a draft of a similar letter on her desk. Read more.