By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – More than 50,000 children enrolled in Pennsylvania’s insurance program for low-income families will have to switch to Medicaid now that the federal government has refused to grant the state an exception under the new health care law.

The Corbett Administration says the refusal to grant an exemption means more than a fourth of the nearly 190,000 children enrolled in Pennsylvania’s CHIP program will have to move to Medicaid, but advocates like Richard Weishaupt of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia say that’s a good thing.

For example, Weishaput says Medicaid is a more generous program “that will include more benefits than the CHIP program does.”

But Rosanne Placey of the state Insurance Department claims CHIP has a more robust provider network.

“So more access to more doctors at both the primary and specialist level,” Placey says the administration is disappointed with the decision but that the federal government has indicated there will be some flexibility in terms of timelines for the transition.



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