CHIP Bill Discriminates Against Transgender Youth

As many of you know, last Wednesday the State Senate Banking and Insurance Committee voted to strip away healthcare coverage for trans youth under CHIP.

Background: The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides healthcare coverage to youth and families who are not eligible for Medical Assistance but cannot afford private health insurance. CHIP is routinely re-authorized without issue. In June, the House of Representatives voted unanimously on HB 1388 to re-authorize CHIP. The Senate must now re-authorize CHIP before it gets to Governor Wolf for his signature.

What happened? Last Wednesday in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee, an amendment was adopted to exclude all gender-related healthcare coverage – including mental healthcare, hormones, and gender confirmation procedures or surgeries. This wicked amendment serves no other purpose than pure discrimination.

Current status: Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the amended bill from being voted out of the Committee before it gets to the full Senate for final passage.

The Senate could vote on the amended bill as early as Tuesday.

We have two asks:

1. Call your State Senator and urge them to vote only for a clean CHIP re-authorization bill that restores full coverage for transgender children and teens. To email, either use the ACLU of Pennsylvania’s action page or email your Senator directly: See sample email from SisTers Pittsburgh HERE.

2. The Pennsylvania Youth Congress urgently needs to collect stories from trans youth and their families who are on CHIP. It is absolutely critical that Senators hear from people who have received – or plan to access – these vital services through CHIP. The Pennsylvania Youth Congress has a form on their website for trans youth and their families to fill out if they are on CHIP.