Corbett to Sebelius: Need Response to Save CHIP for Pennsylvania's Children

Aug 30, 2013, 15:47 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 30, 2013  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett sent a third letter today to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her not to involuntarily move children currently covered under Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (PA CHIP) into Medicaid.

The forced move is a requirement of the Affordable Care Act and would be effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Corbett has argued that PA CHIP is a national model that provides not only a robust array of health insurance benefits, but also access to more doctors and hospitals than traditional Medicaid. He's also expressed concerns that moving children from PA CHIP's commercial insurance platform to Medicaid could cause disruptions in their relationships with their health care providers and delays in their ability to access care. 

For more information or to read previous correspondence with HHS, visit and click on "Affordable Care Act News."

Media contactChristine Cronkright, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116

Editor's Note:  Today's letter is included below. Previous letters on this subject are posted on under the "Affordable Care Act News" button.

Aug. 30, 2013

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

As you know, I am very concerned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) contention that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires certain children in Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (PA CHIP) be involuntarily moved into Medicaid.

I communicated this concern to you during our face-to-face meeting on April 2, 2013, in Washington D.C. and in subsequent letters to you dated May 30, 2013, and June 26, 2013. In fact, in all three instances, I specifically asked for approval from the Obama Administration to allow Pennsylvania to preserve PA CHIP for the children and families that currently enjoy its benefits. I have attached copies of those letters that fully explain the Commonwealth's position, why we believe you have the authority to grant this approval and why any ruling to the contrary would directly violate NFIB v. Sebelius.

As a former Governor, you understand the need for timely and definitive answers, yet to date I have not received a response from you to my requests. This prolonged absence of a clear response has created significant operational and systems challenges for Pennsylvania. Any further delays in receiving a response from you only increases the risk of creating additional healthcare disruption for thousands of Pennsylvania children and families.

I ask that you respond in writing to my request by no later than September 6, 2013. I firmly believe that PA CHIP is the right program to meet the healthcare needs of Pennsylvania children. I remain committed to working with you and Pennsylvania families to preserve this great program and ensure all Pennsylvania children have access to quality and affordable healthcare coverage. 


Tom Corbett

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor