The Pennsylvania Senate and Banking and Insurance Committee recently passed a bill reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Pennsylvania Senator Donald White attached an amendment that would prevent transgender youth from seeking gender transition. The bill, HB 1388, and it’s amendment was passed out of committee by a 14-1 vote. South Philadelphia Democrat Larry Farnese was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. It is currently sitting in the Senate Appropriations Committee and a vote on the bill can come as early as next week.
John Dawe, the interim Executive Director for Equality Pennsylvania, sent an email stating:
Senator Donald White has attached an amendment that would restrict transgender youth up to age 19 from being covered under the widely successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides insurance coverage to uninsured children and teens up to age 19 whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but who cannot afford to purchase private insurance. In Pennsylvania, there are over 174,000 children currently enrolled in CHIP.
A harmful amendment was introduced to this reauthorization measure that would prohibit coverage of services related to gender transition. This amendment picks on our most vulnerable children and denies them vital medical care. The proposed amendment would also put our PA CHIP program in violation of federal law.