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Pennsylvania Delegation Pushes CHIP Funding Extension

September 29, 2017

Led by Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R, PA-05), 17 members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation penned a letter to Congressional leaders urging swift action to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

CHIP funding expires on September 30, 2017. Pennsylvania is projected to run out of resources for CHIP in February 2018 if Congress does not act.

More than 176,000 Pennsylvania children rely on CHIP for affordable, comprehensive health care coverage. HAP and 25 other Pennsylvania health care provider organizations highlighted the importance of providing stability for low-income children and families by extending CHIP in a September 15 letter to the delegation.

Pennsylvania’s federal lawmakers wrote in their letter, “Ensuring that children have access to high-quality health insurance coverage during their formative years yields an abundance of positive outcomes. Research suggests that children insured through CHIP are more likely to complete college, maximize their earning power, and experience better health outcomes as adults, with fewer hospitalizations.”

Although Congress will miss the September 30 deadline, both chambers are working to reach an agreement that would extend funding.

The U.S. Senate has crafted a bipartisan deal, S. 1827, the KIDS Act of 2017, to extend CHIP funding for five years. That deal would keep the current enhanced federal matching rate provided to states for two years and phase it down starting during 2020.

On the other side of the Capitol, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee announced it will hold a markup for its own legislation next week.

Pennsylvania has seen a 19 percent increase in CHIP enrollment from July 2015, to August 2017. Because of CHIP and Medicaid, 95 percent of children in Pennsylvania have health insurance coverage. Further data is available in HAP’s CHIP fact sheet and at HAP’s website.

Signers on the letter included Congressmen Thompson (R, PA-05), Barletta (R, PA-11), Boyle (D, PA-13), Brady (D, PA-01), Cartwright (D, PA-17), Costello (R, PA-06), Dent (R, PA-15), Doyle (D, PA-14), Evans (D, PA-02), Fitzpatrick (R, PA-08), Kelly (R, PA-03), Meehan (R, PA-07), Murphy (R, PA-18), Perry (R, PA-04), Rothfus (R, PA-12), Shuster (R, PA-09), and Smucker (R, PA-16).

Please contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s vice president, federal advocacy, with questions regarding the reauthorization of funding for CHIP.

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