Governor Promotes CHIP Funding

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WILKES-BARRE -- Governor Corbett's reason for coming to Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday was to talk about CHIP, The Children's Health Insurance Program.

His proposed budget calls for extra funding for the program.

After proposing his 2013-2014 budget in Harrisburg, Governor Tom Corbett stopped by the Osterhout free library in Wilkes-Barre to talk up a planned funding increase for CHIP.

"As we all know, the health of our children does matter," said Governor Corbett.

CHIP was created 20 years ago to provide free or affordable health insurance to uninsured kids and teenagers in Pennsylivania.

Jean Rutter of Kingston, has three children who are covered by CHIP.

"It gives us a chance to take them to get the care that they need without taking from other things that we need," said Rutter.

She said CHIP is a big help to her family.

Now Governor Corbett hopes to help more families like Jean's.

Governor Corbett is proposing a $13.4 million increase in the CHIP budget over last year's budget. Some of that would go to administration, some to outreach and marketing, but $7.5 million would go to increasing enrollment.

"It's necessary," said Governor Corbett.  "And when you have the money, you can put it in there, but we didn't have it the last two years."

"I think it's a good idea. I know there's a lot of important things out there to put money into and we have to budget, but healthcare is very important," said Rutter.

Governor Corbett said he hopes to enroll more than 9,000 additional children in CHIP.

The budget still needs to be approved state lawmakers.