HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senate is advancing legislation to bar coverage for gender or sex reassignment surgery in the federally subsidized Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The Republican-penned bill passed Wednesday, 37-13, over the protests of Democratic lawmakers who called it discriminatory. It goes to the House for consideration.
Senate Republicans say Pennsylvania can’t legally extend such coverage. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration says it expanded the coverage last year to comply with a new Obama administration rule. That rule is on hold in federal court and isn’t being enforced by the Trump administration.
An earlier version of the bill carried a broader ban on transgender services, but Wolf threatened to veto it. Republicans amended it to allow coverage of physician’s services, prescribed drugs or counseling.
The program currently covers 177,000 children.