The Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) support House Bill 857, which extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through December 31, 2017.
PCHA and PCC have supported the CHIP program since its inception in 1992. Thanks to this program, more than 150,000 of the Commonwealth’s children are covered by CHIP. If it is not reauthorized, CHIP will expire on December 31, 2015 and leave these children without medical insurance. CHIP is critical so that children continue to have access to vital health care services they would not otherwise be able to afford.
Insurance coverage is essential for families to get appropriate and necessary health care for their children. The impact is plain and simple – having insurance improves health outcomes of children. Furthermore, children who have health insurance generally have a relationship with a primary care physician. And, families with coverage are less likely to use costly emergency room services for common childhood ailments. Health care coverage is strongly linked to academic success as well. Pennsylvania’s children deserve to lead healthy, successful lives.
It is important not to reverse the progress that Pennsylvania has made through the CHIP program, and therefore the PCHA and PCC support reauthorization of CHIP through 2017, as provided by House Bill 857, to ensure that Pennsylvania’s children will have access to health care coverage through this critical safety-net program.