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PA House moves forward discrimination-free CHIP reauthorization

Today, the Pennsylvania House Rules committee, and subsequently the full House, stripped an amendment barring coverage of transition-related surgery for Children’s Health Insurance Program recipients, from HB 1388.

“Equality Pennsylvania commends the Pennsylvania House for passing a discrimination-free CHIP reauthorization,” said John Dawe, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania. 

Last month, Senator Donald White (R-Indiana Borough) introduced an amendment to HB-1388, a bill providing reauthorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  The amendment banned transition-related surgery for people up to the age of 19 covered under CHIP.  The amended bill passed out of the full Senate before today’s action which restored it to a ‘clean’ CHIP reauthorization.

“We are grateful to Governor Tom Wolf and our friends at Make the Road PA, Planned Parenthood, PA Resist, SEIU Healthcare PA, and especially the ACLU of Pennsylvania who worked tirelessly to convince the House to do the right thing,” said Dawe.

“Today’s House vote was a victory for Pennsylvania’s children,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which opposed the transgender discrimination language inserted by the Senate. “The healthcare of young people is not a football to be used for political games.”

The bill now must be re-approved to by the Pennsylvania Senate before going to the Governor to be signed into law.

“For decades, CHIP reauthorization was done in a straightforward way because this program is so important to so many children and families,” said J.J. Abbott, spokesperson for Governor Wolf. “Governor Wolf urges the General Assembly to get this clean reauthorization to his desk as soon as possible.”

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