Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called for an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through fiscal year 2019. Casey highlighted county by county data showing the impact that CHIP has had on Pennsylvania. The program, which was created in 1997, currently covers around 271,000 kids each year throughout Pennsylvania. The Casey-backed proposal would also improve the program by giving states the option to extend more comprehensive coverage to pregnant women and offer improved dental services and oral care. Passing an extension this year is critical to helping states plan their budgets next year.
“CHIP has worked as a remarkable public-private partnership to deliver critical health care to children. CHIP has played an important role in increasing access to health insurance for countless children,” Senator Casey said. “Every part of Pennsylvania benefits from CHIP, which provides health insurance to roughly 270,000 children throughout the state each year. We must ensure that CHIP continues to be there for them.”
Pennsylvania was a model for the national CHIP Program: in 1992 Governor Casey, signed into law the Children’s Health Insurance Act. Congress followed suit in 1997 and passed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program Extension Act of 2014 would extend CHIP through 2019, consistent with current requirements that states maintain their CHIP efforts through that date. The bill also gives states incentives to strengthen their CHIP programs by enrolling CHIP-eligible children who remain uninsured, increasing access to dental care, and improving services that specifically benefit pregnant women.