Bill Extends CHIP, Bars Funding for Sex Change Procedures

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The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee today (October 18) approved legislation that would extend the life of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while prohibiting the use of funds for sex change procedures, according to Committee Chairman Senator Don White (R-Indiana).
House Bill 1388, which was passed in the Committee by a bipartisan 14-1 vote and now goes to the full Senate for consideration, changes the expiration date of CHIP from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2019 and makes a clarifying exemption to the program’s expiration if federal funding for the program extends beyond December 31, 2019.

“Pennsylvania’s CHIP program is one of the Commonwealth’s true success stories and has served as a model for similar programs across the country,” said Senator White. “Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians lead healthy and productive lives because of the essential medical services they received as children through CHIP, and thousands of young people are today benefitting from the program.”

Prior to its vote, the Committee amended the bill with language introduced by Senator White that prohibits the use of CHIP money to pay for gender or sex reassignment surgery or gender or sex transition services, including, but not limited to: physician’s services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, prescribed drugs, and/or counseling services.

 “It is completely inappropriate to use state funds to pay for sex change operations for children. I believe that is a position that is strongly endorsed by a vast majority of Pennsylvanians,” said Senator White. “I strongly support CHIP. This program provides vital health care services for Pennsylvania’s children. It is irresponsible to allow its limited resources to be used for sex change procedures.”

Senator White said the proposed restriction for CHIP is in line with current state regulations that prohibit the use of Medicaid funding for sex change procedures.

“Pennsylvania law already prohibits our largest state health care program from using taxpayer money for these services,” Senator White said. “It only makes sense to define in statute that this restriction includes CHIP as well.”

CHIP is supported by both state and federal funding and provides insurance coverage to uninsured children and teens (up to age 19) whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but cannot afford private insurance. There are about 175,000 Pennsylvania children enrolled in CHIP.

The Committee also approved Senate Bill 877  and Senate Bill 878, two bills introduced by Senator White to amend the Independent Department Act and the Insurance Company Law to allow insurance companies to spend as much as $100 in marketing their products to a client or prospective client.

“These bills would allow reasonable, practical marketing in a competitive field without jeopardizing the pricing integrity of insurance,” Senator White. “This would let a company offer a coffee or gas card to consumers who request a quote or submit an application.”

Contact:         Joe Pittman     jpittman@pasen.gov