Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

CHIP Renewal / Heating assistance renewal

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Dec 18, 2017 8:00 PM
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source: PA DHS

On the Tuesday December 19th, 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

Two programs that benefit low-income adults and childen are awaiting funding renewal from Congress.

On Thursday, Governor Wolf signed a bill re-affirming the state's commitment to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  The program provides matching funds for health insurance to families with children who earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to cover insurance costs.

CHIP has not been re-authorized at the federal level; the re-authorization has stalled in congress amid budget negotiations and political posturing.  The twenty-five year old program has previously seen bipartisan support. 

CHIP provides healthcare aid to 9 million Americans; state officials fear that a lapse of CHIP would be detrimental to recipients.  "Congress needs to do its part and reauthorize CHIP at the federal level," said Wolf. "Without federal funding, more than 180,000 children in Pennsylvania could be without health care in early 2018."

On Tuesday's Smart Talk, we discuss the role of CHIP in aiding low-income Pennsylvanians and the impact of defunding the program on the state's youth with Jim Willshier, Director of Policy & Partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers and Jennifer Englerth, CEO of Family First Health.

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Jim Willshier, Director of Policy & Partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers and Jennifer Englerth, CEO of Family First Health

Another federal program aimed at helping low-income Americans keep their homes warm this winter could be in danger.   The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP is part of ongoing federal budget negotiations with a budget deadline of this Friday.  To discuss what's at stake on Tuesday's Smart Talk is Patrick Cicero, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Utilities Law Project and chairman of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

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