U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Corbett in a Friday letter that the switch is required by the 2010 federal health care law and that it will simplify coverage for families by aligning children under the same program as their parents.
Corbett’s top insurance regulator, Michael Consedine, on Tuesday called Sebelius’ response “disappointing” and could not yet say whether the administration will comply with it or seek to block it, perhaps through a court challenge.
“I don’t think the governor’s ready to give up the fight for this program, so we continue to evaluate our options,” Consedine told The Associated Press.
He estimated that the shift would affect 50,000 children 6 and older whose family income is between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty level, and he warned that it is difficult in some parts of the state to find a doctor who accepts Medicaid.
CHIP, which currently covers about 187,000 children, is more attractive to doctors because its reimbursements are higher than Medicaid’s.
Corbett, a critic of Medicaid and the federal health care law, also favors CHIP because private insurance companies play a larger role in shaping policies, and the administration says it costs the state more to cover children in Medicaid than in CHIP.