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A Big Win for Kids’ Health

Cross this one off Harrisburg’s to-do list: Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been renewed for two more years.

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation that reauthorizes CHIP through Dec. 31, 2017. The program, which provides health care coverage to more than 150,000 children, was set to expire at the end of 2015. But in a show of strong bipartisan support that has been a hallmark of CHIP since it began in the 1990s, the state House and Senate unanimously voted to keep CHIP going.

This good news get even better. The CHIP reauthorization measure the governor signed also requires the commonwealth to use “express lane eligibility” to streamline enrollment in CHIP and Medicaid.

In simple terms, express lane eligibility means using existing databases - such as children enrolled in state-subsidized child care or in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - to determine a family’s eligibility for CHIP or Medicaid and letting that family know their child can be insured. This can be an important tool for reaching the more than 139,000 Pennsylvania children who still lack health insurance. PPC has advocated for such streamlined enrollment and we’re pleased to see it become a reality.

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