We have just learned that tomorrow morning in the State Senate, Sen. Donald White (R-41) will be introducing an amendment to ban trans healthcare coverage in the CHIP re-authorization bill in committee.
The Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides free or low-cost healthcare insurance coverage for youth and families who would not otherwise qualify for Medicaid. Since 2016, CHIP has included gender confirmation healthcare coverage.
Sen. White is the Chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. The votes are not looking good for us to stop the amendment in committee. Instead of listening to medical professionals about the harm this proposal would cause, this State Senate committee is set to rapidly report out this bill.
The CHIP re-authorization bill is HB 1388. Below is the proposed amendment. We do not know how many trans youth receive gender healthcare under CHIP, but it could be in the hundreds. We know that cutting off hormones, therapy, and other gender healthcare access would be devastating.
This ban on trans healthcare under CHIP would begin on January 1, 2018.
We believe it will be most helpful for our networks to contact Sen. Jake Corman (R-34), the Senate Majority Leader, to express your support that trans healthcare for youth is critical to preserve. You can contact Sen. Corman at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone his office at 717-787-1377. This bill would also need to go through the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) and can be reached at email@example.com or 717-787-1349. You can look up your own Senator here and call or email them to share your support for trans inclusion in CHIP.
We want to fill the meeting room tomorrow with supporters. Our Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine will be there.
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee meeting will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 18th, at 9:30am in Room 461 of the Main Capitol. If you are planning to attend, please wear PURPLE to show your support.
From PYC, working directly with and representing trans youth throughout the commonwealth, we will be organizing visibility and action around this development as quickly as we can.
We will share more information as becomes available.