Harrisburg – December 13, 2017 – Legislation to reauthorize the state’s popular and highly successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cleared the Senate on Monday and is now headed to the governor for his signature, state Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) said today.
“The CHIP program is a critical tool that is available to help children and their families,” Sabatina said. “CHIP provides life-saving access to health care and it should never be put in jeopardy because of politics on either the state or federal level.”
Congress has not yet reauthorized funding for the program and the measure is currently in federal legislative limbo.
“Congress needs to act to reauthorize the program to ensure that sufficient funds are available to cover children’s health needs,” Sabatina said.
The state bill reauthorizes the CHIP program for two years. Without such reauthorization, the program was set to expire on December 31 of this year. Federal funding of CHIP expired in September, however, the state appropriated more than $10 million from its General Fund. The program is also funded by a dedicated revenue stream from the cigarette tax.
The state contributions are matched by federal dollars. If Congress fails to approve the CHIP funding bill, the state Department of Human Services indicates that the program will run out of money in February.
Sabatina voted for the measure (House Bill 1388) and has been a strong supporter of the program. The legislation passed the Senate on a 43-6 vote.
“There is so much confusion this year about healthcare coverage and what is available to families,” Sabatina said. “The last thing families with children need is more anxiety about whether CHIP will be available to serve healthcare needs.
“I am pleased that the Senate passed the bill and that it will be soon signed into law so that we can remove some of the uncertainty about the program’s future.”
The CHIP program covers 180,162 children statewide, including 24,430 in Philadelphia.