Families, physicians and other stakeholders joined Senator Bob Casey for a roundtable discussion about the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, at Penn State Children's Hospital today.
CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Federal funding for the program, which is administered by states, expired on Sept. 30. Most programs, including Pennsylvania, have a few months' worth of funding on-hand. Congress is expected to soon take up bipartisan legislation that would extend CHIP funding through 2022.
Casey heard from parents whose children depend on CHIP, including Tracy Brown, who enrolled in the program after her husband lost his job.
“I was concerned I'd have to choose between a roof over my head and health benefits,” Brown said.
Danielle Kryscio said CHIP makes it possible for her three children – ages 9 years, 7 years and 23 months – to attend well-child check-ups and receive needed immunizations.
Dr. Michael Beck, chief hospitalist at the Children's Hospital, and Dr. Benjamin Fogel, pediatrician, joined Casey for the discussion.
Casey says the renewal of CHIP funding needs to be a priority for both the House and Senate. “This is about the lives and healthcare of children,” he said.
CHIP covers 176,000 children in Pennsylvania, and about 9 million children nationwide.
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