Gov. Tom Corbett wants feds' answer on CHIP within a week

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Published: Sep 02 2013 09:42:22 AM EDT
Gov. Tom Corbett
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Gov. Tom Corbett wants an answer in a week on whether the federal government will waive a requirement that tens of thousands of Pennsylvania children switch from a state-subsidized health insurance program to Medicaid.

Corbett's letter says the lack of an answer is creating operational and systems challenges for the state, but a spokeswoman says the Republican governor isn't looking at suing if U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refuses an exemption. A Sebelius spokesman didn't immediately respond Friday to questions about the agency's position.

The requirement for children to switch Jan. 1 is part of the 2010 federal health care law.

Philadelphia-based lawyers who advocate for the poor say children are better off under Medicaid anyway because its coverage is more comprehensive than the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.