The Pennsylvania State Senate has voted to advance a discriminatory anti-transgender amendment to the re-authorization of the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Introduced by State Senator Don White, the amendment would cut transition-related surgical services for transgender youth out of the program. HB1338 passed the Senate by a 37-13 vote and now heads to the House Rules committee for final amendments.
“It is completely inappropriate to use state funds to pay for sex change operations for children. I believe that is a position that is strongly endorsed by a vast majority of Pennsylvanians,” said Senator White. “I strongly support CHIP. This program provides vital health care services for Pennsylvania’s children. It is irresponsible to allow its limited resources to be used for sex change procedures.”
Senator White said the proposed restriction for CHIP is in line with current state regulations that prohibit the use of Medicaid funding for sex change procedures.
“Pennsylvania law already prohibits our largest state health care program from using taxpayer money for these services,” Senator White said. “It only makes sense to define in statute that this restriction includes CHIP as well.”
HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof called the amendment dangerous and mean spirited, “CHIP saves lives and should be beyond the reach of cynical lawmakers looking to score cheap political points,” said Winterhof. “This attack is dangerous and mean-spirited. The amendment puts the health and safety of children across the commonwealth at risk. Protecting children and ensuring they have equal access to healthcare is a nonpartisan issue, and we urge the House Rules committee to reject this harmful amendment.”
The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides crucial health care services to our nation’s most vulnerable youth. It provides health coverage to nearly eight million children and families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage.
This legislative session has brought an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation in state houses across the country. This year more than 130 discriminatory bills were introduced across 30 states.