HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Congress has adjourned for the year without fully finishing its spending plan–holding off a government shutdown by passing a few months of stopgap funding. It includes some money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program–something the deadlock had called into serious question. But Pennsylvania officials say that doesn’t help much. In the days leading up to the stopgap agreement, they had warned the program would have to end sometime early next year if federal lawmakers didn’t act. The agreement hands down $3 billion to states.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) — The state House has passed a bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers kids from families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford other insurance. The routine bill became controversial this year, because the Senate inserted language that would have prohibited CHIP from covering transgender kids’ transition surgeries. The House axed that provision; now the bill returns to the Senate. The deadline for reauthorization is the end of the year. House GOP Leader Dave Reed said it would be irresponsible to tie up CHIP care while debating whether the surgeries should be covered. “That’s better to deal with separately, while not endangering 200,000 kids and their families going into the holiday season,” he said. But that doesn’t mean the issue of whether CHIP should pay for gender confirmation surgery is resolved.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) — A Senate committee has moved a bill to reauthorize Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program–or CHIP. CHIP has existed for decades in Pennsylvania. But this time, the bill is controversial. It includes a component that would prohibit the state from insuring transgender kids’ transition surgeries and related needs, like counseling. In August 2016, the commonwealth’s longstanding policy to not cover reassignment surgeries and associated services changed, when the Obama administration issued a rule saying Medicaid and CHIP couldn’t exclude or limit coverage for gender confirmation-related services.