Wolf signs kids health coverage bill, urges Congress to act

'Congress needs to... reauthorize CHIP'

PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has signed a bill guaranteeing state-level funding for a popular children's health insurance program, and urges Congress to renew federal funding.

He was at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Friday to sign the bill, which will fund the Children's Health Insurance Program, called CHIP.

"I am proud to sign this legislation that represents Pennsylvania's bipartisan commitment to securing health insurance for our most vulnerable – our children and pregnant women," Wolf said. "However, this is just one step in ensuring children are cared for. Congress needs to do its part and reauthorize CHIP at the federal level. Without federal funding, more than 180,000 children in Pennsylvania could be without health care in early 2018."

Fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out October 1. Since then, some states have relied on unspent funds.

Earlier this week, the Democrat was one of 12 governors of both parties who sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for the program to be reauthorized.

The governors said funding the program "without disruption" is something they can all agree on.

It covers more than 180,000 children in Pennsylvania, providing health insurance kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Federal funding accounts for 90 percent of the $450 million CHIP budget.

"Despite all the families helped by CHIP and the access to high quality health care coverage it provides, the program will no longer exist unless Congress acts," said acting Secretary for the Department of Human Services Teresa Miller.

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