Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) play a crucial role in the U.S. health insurance system by providing coverage for more than one in four children. During 2005, about 29 million children were enrolled in Medicaid at some point in the year and more than 6 million were covered through SCHIP. Though more than 65 percent of children in the U.S. are covered by private insurance (most through their parents’ employers), Medicaid and SCHIP have helped to increase health care coverage for millions of children.
SCHIP’s 10-year authorization expired last year, and temporary funding was enacted that funds the program through this March. Congress is currently reconsidering SCHIP reauthorization legislation, as well as Medicaid relief for the states. Questions about SCHIP reauthorization and/or expansion and assistance for Medicaid coverage come at a critical economic time when the loss of jobs may lead to the loss of employer-sponsored health coverage for parents and children. Some 9 million children remain uninsured today, and this number could well grow as the recession worsens.
How do Medicaid and SCHIP work today to cover children? How can enrollment simplification and outreach help reach those children who are eligible but unenrolled? Do state programs differ in eligibility requirements and benefits offered? How are state budgets holding up under the strain of the economic downturn? What will be the impact of the recession on coverage of children in Medicaid and SCHIP?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored a February 2 briefing. Panelists were: Diane Rowland, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured; Ruth Kennedy, director of Louisiana LaCHIP; and Terri Shaw, the Children’s Partnership. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)