As Congress and the nation’s governors wrangle with the Bush administration over how much the federal government should spend on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which expires September 30, an article in the March/April 2007 issue of Health Affairs concludes that SCHIP has been a success over its first decade, lowering uninsurance rates among children and improving their access to care. Urban Institute researchers Genevieve Kenney and Justin Yee warn, however, that if funding is held to its current level when the program is reauthorized, many children could lose their health insurance, and states will be hard-pressed to expand coverage for the nearly two million uninsured children who are now eligible for the program.
The new Health Affairs issue, a thematic volume titled “Designing Children’s Health Care,” was released yesterday at a National Press Club briefing. At the event, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus said that he was seeking $50 billion in additional funding for SCHIP over the next five years. The Montana Democrat said that this would be enough to continue covering those already in the program and to extend coverage to all children who are eligible for SCHIP but not yet enrolled.