A Proposal to Reform the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Kenneth Lin

First posted on 8/05/11 on Common Sense Family Doctor

As a modest expansion of public health insurance coverage that followed President Clinton’s failed comprehensive 1994 reform proposal, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, formerly known as SCHIP) has led to substantial reductions in the percentage of uninsured, low-income children since its enactment in 1997. Due to aggressive CHIP outreach efforts, the percentage of eligible children who received Medicaid coverage also increased during this time period, a phenomenon known as the “spillover effect.” Compared to uninsured children, children covered by Medicaid and CHIP are more likely to have a usual source of care and fewer unmet health needs; there is also evidence that children with public insurance coverage receive higher quality care for chronic conditions such as asthma. The CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009 continued federal funding of this successful program through 2013 and added dental benefits.

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