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Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Welcomes U.S. House Vote to Reauthorize Children's Health Care
Date:1/15/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario today issued the following statement in response to a Jan. 14 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on the reauthorization of SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program):

"I am very pleased that SCHIP reauthorization and expansion has passed the first hurdle and has been approved by the U.S. House. To ensure the continued health of Pennsylvania's children, I encourage the members of the U.S. Senate to also vote for reauthorization.

"There is no better example of a public-private health partnership that has been so helpful to so many. While government does finance this care, it is commercial insurers who deliver the product. Families tell us all the time that their children are healthy and active because of CHIP.

"If the program is not reauthorized at the federal level, we will be facing some very tough decisions. Two-thirds of Pennsylvania's CHIP funding comes from federal dollars. If SCHIP is not reauthorized, those funds are in jeopardy. That could mean limiting benefits for all children currently in the program, or even turning families away who are currently eligible and in need.

"That would be a sad chapter in our CHIP story -- which, to this point, has been the most successful program of its kind in the nation.

"Pennsylvania's CHIP enrollment increased to 183,891 in January. This was more than a 10 percent increase since January 2008. Also, there were 10,774 children enrolled in CHIP in January who would not have been eligible before the Cover All Kids expansion."

    CONTACT:
    Rosanne Placey or Katy Gresh
    (717) 787-3289



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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
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