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Gov. Wolf urges Congress to pass CHIP funding

Absent federal funding, the state will likely run out of money for CHIP in early 2018.

Pa. Gov. Wolf.
Pa. Gov. Wolf.Read moreMATT ROURKE / AP

HARRISBURG — Gov. Wolf on Friday urged Congress to renew federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program as he signed a bill guaranteeing funding at the state level.

"I am proud to sign this legislation that represents Pennsylvania's bi-partisan commitment to securing health insurance for our most vulnerable — our children and pregnant women," the governor said in a statement. "However, it is just one step in ensuring children are cared for. Congress needs to do its part and reauthorize CHIP at the federal level."

Wolf, a Democrat, signed the state bill Friday afternoon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was joined by state Human Services acting secretary Teresa Miller.

The program also known as CHIP,  covers more than 180,000 children in Pennsylvania, providing health insurance for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. About 90 percent of the $450 million that supports the state's program comes from the federal government, according to Wolf's office.

Congress is nearly three months past its deadline for approving CHIP funding for the states. Absent quick action from Congress, the Wolf administration has warned that Pennsylvania could run out of money for CHIP sometime in the first three months of 2018, meaning families would lose their coverage. If that happens, the administration hopes to notify families at least 30 days before they would lose coverage.