Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorized on State Level
Legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was signed into law last week by Gov. Tom Wolf at an event at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. Since 2009, 850,000 children have been enrolled in the program, according to the Department of Human Services.
“This is an important piece of legislation that protects children and families,” Farnese said. “CHIP provides life-saving access to health care.
“If CHIP were not available, many families would be unable to afford health insurance, leaving children exposed and families facing enormous costs when a child is sick.”
The measure reauthorizes the CHIP program for two years. The program was set to expire on December 31. While federal funding of CHIP was exhausted in September, the state appropriated more than $10 million from its General Fund. The program is also funded by a dedicated revenue stream from the cigarette tax.
State contributions are matched by federal dollars, but Congress has thus far failed to pass the necessary legislation. If Congress fails to approve the CHIP funding bill, the program will run out of money in February.
During Senate consideration, discriminatory language aimed at transgendered children was tacked on the legislation despite strenuous objections by Sen. Farnese. The objectionable language was removed from the final version of the legislation.
|Senator Farnese participated in a news conference to unveil the Women’s Health Caucus Agenda on December 12.
Women’s Health Caucus Agenda Unveiled at Event at Capitol
The Women’s Health Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative group that supports women’s health issues. On December 12, the caucus held a news conference to introduced the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health. The agenda is a package of bills supported by the caucus.
The Agenda for Women’s Health covers a broad range of proposals including Senator Farnese’s legislation to require reimbursement of public money used to settle sexual harassment cases against state lawmakers.
Property Tax and Rent Rebate Application Deadline Nears
Eligible senior citizens need to make sure they file their state property tax/rent rebate application by the Jan. 2 deadline. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.
Applications and free filing assistance are available at Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and his local district offices. Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information can also be found at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling 1-888-222-9190.
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and
widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is counted in determining eligibility.
Since 1971, nearly $7 billion has been paid to qualified applicants. The program is funded by the state lottery and gaming revenues
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