States around the country, including Pennsylvania, face notifying millions of working class and special needs families that their children may soon lose their health care coverage. The problem: a politically locked Congress. Little has changed since Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a 25-year-old program that pays for health care for nearly 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women across the nation. Arizona, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, D.C., could run out of money by the end of this month, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families. New Jersey, with about 113,000 children insured, has money to operate CHIP until sometime this spring, according to a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Human Services. But Pennsylvania expects to run out of CHIP funds by the end of January. In case the stalemate continues, the Commonwealth’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is preparing notification letters for the families of the nearly 179,000 children its program covers. “We’re trying to use the best information we have, and we’re trying not to scare families, but we’re also trying to do our due diligence and be prepared,” said Acting DHS Secretary Teresa D. Miller. Some political observers blame continued attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the missed deadline. Recently, a Republican-led plan to finance CHIP by cutting the ACA cleared the House, over Democrats’ opposition. In Pennsylvania, there is an additional complication. In October, the state Senate passed a reauthorization bill that would deny CHIP funds for transgender children to have gender reassignment surgery. The state House, for a second time, recently passed a reauthorization bill without the transgender limitation. The matter is now back in the Senate’s court. In 2016, just 34 Pennsylvania children received transgender-related care, including counseling, according to the state. How many, if any, received gender reassignment surgery was not available. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), blasted congressional Republicans for not quickly reauthorizing CHIP.