Update: Corbett wants exemption to switching children to Medicaid

Written by The Associated Press | May 31, 2013 11:29 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- Governor Corbett is pressing the federal government for an exemption he says will prevent at least 70,000 children in a state-subsidized health insurance program from having to switch to Medicaid.

He has written to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in his latest request. A Sebelius spokesman didn't immediately comment.

Under the 2010 federal health care law, states must expand the eligibility limits of Medicaid for children ages six to 19.

But, Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, already provides coverage to those children. The state government gets more money from the federal government to cover a child under CHIP than it does under Medicaid.

Since Corbett became governor, the number of children in CHIP has slid by several thousand to about 190,000.

Public interest lawyers are challenging Corbett over his protests that the 20-10 federal health care law will force some children with state-subsidized insurance to switch to Medicaid.

A lawyer for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia says children move between Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, all the time.

Plus, lawyer Richard Weishaupt says Pennsylvania's four nonprofit Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurers provide both Medicaid and CHIP insurance plans. 

In any case, he notes Medicaid is better for families than CHIP because it offers much more comprehensive health care coverage than CHIP does.

*This story has been updated. 5/31/13  at 4:39 p.m.


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