from physician news digest:
pa expands health care access
the governor has been working to expand coverage by growing the existing state program for uncovered children, the children's health insurance program (chip), according to amy kelchner, press secretary for the governor's office of health care reform. chip coverage is currently available free of charge to those families ineligible, because of income, for medicaid, but who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level; subsidized coverage is available for those with incomes of 200 to 235 percent of that level. kelchner says that of the 133,000 uninsured children in pennsylvania, all but 25,000 are already eligible for coverage as part of chip or medicaid. (kelchner says those that are eligible for these programs but who remain uncovered are so either because parents incorrectly assume they don't qualify economically, don't know about chip, are between jobs and will soon have coverage, or simply refuse to participate in government programs.)
rendell's proposal, cover all kids, sought to raise the subsidized chip income ceiling from 235 percent of the poverty level to 350 percent. it also proposed allowing families with incomes above 350 percent the opportunity to purchase chip benefits at the state-negotiated rate. to ensure that this expansion doesn't prompt employers to eliminate coverage for their employees, the proposal stipulates that enrollers--except those already enrolled or who have lost a job--must demonstrate a six-month period without insurance.
both state houses approved the plan, amended