Congressional Inaction Threatens PA Children’s Health Insurance
Friday, December 1, 2017
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program - but without congressional action, it could be the last.
Federal funding for the program that insures almost nine million children nationwide expired on October 1. But despite broad, bipartisan support, Congress still has not reauthorized CHIP.
According to Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, the Commonwealth will run out of money for the program by February, so she says Congress needs to act now.
"If they don't get to this task quite quickly, the Department of Human Services will be forced to send notices to families telling them they're closing the program and their children's coverage will be terminated," she warns.
More than 178,000 children in Pennsylvania are insured by CHIP, and the program receives 89 percent of its funding from the federal government.
Some states have already started notifying parents that their children may lose coverage, and for many low-income families there are few alternatives. Benso points out that the open enrollment period for health insurance in the marketplace is happening right now.
"Families could enroll their kids there, but at a much higher cost than they enroll their children in the CHIP program," she laments.
She says many families simply won't be able to afford the premiums, and others may be forced to choose between putting food on the table and buying health insurance for their children.
Benso notes that without health insurance, parents often postpone taking kids to the doctor.
"What ends up happening is children suffer from diseases that could have been prevented and end up in the emergency room, costing all of us as health-care consumers more money in the long term," explains Benso.
She adds that CHIP has brought the rate of uninsured children in Pennsylvania and nationwide to record lows, and she sees losing the program now as a giant step backward.
get more stories like this via email
This election season, South Dakota is starting to implement voting-access reforms in light of a recent settlement with Native American tribes…
Between rising inflation and the ups and downs of the stock market, it isn't surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation…
The U.S. Postal Service is hiring 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the surge in end-of-year holiday letters and packages for facilities in Michigan …
The roughly 2.4 million Ohioans who rely on Social Security income are expected to get a big boost in benefits, but advocates for the program are …
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and her challenger, former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, both are courting votes from Maine's largest contingency -- …
Ahead of revised methane regulations expected from the federal government, a new study shows that gas flaring in oil-producing states such as Texas …
Groups challenging the criminal consequences for failing to pay rent in Arkansas say they'll take another run at it, perhaps as a class-action …
Wisconsin is one of 33 states allowing Social Security benefits to be extended to teachers. As the future of the program is debated, a retired …