State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • Funding disagreements put Children’s Health Insurance Program at risk, By Caroline Kelly, October 12, 2017, Dallas News: “Children’s health advocates are worried that lawmakers’ different ideas about how to fund a federal insurance program will leave nearly 1 million Texas children without coverage.  House and Senate committees each approved bills last week to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expired Sept. 30, for five years. Most states have leftover CHIP funds, but four expect to run out by December. Last week, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimated that the state program would run out of funding in January instead of February, in part because of demands following Hurricane Harvey…”
  • These 5 states just got a little money to continue CHIP, By Michael Ollove, October 12, 2017, Stateline: “While Congress has failed to restore funding to the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Trump administration has made $230 million in excess funds from previous years available to five states and four U.S. territories that were in danger of running out of money the soonest…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

States scramble to overcome Congress’ failure to move on CHIP, By Michael Ollove, October 6, 2017, Stateline: “By failing to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program before last week’s deadline, Congress has nudged the state of Minnesota toward a painful solution to the loss of federal funds: Unless it can find $95 million, the state said it will continue to provide full health care for certain low-income pregnant women in the program, while either reducing the number of children eligible for CHIP or scaling back their benefits.  That is the sort of agonizing choice that all states in the country will face in the coming months unless Congress acts quickly to restore federal funding to a program that is immensely popular with both parties…”

Health Safety Net Programs

  • Clock ticking on federal funding for CHIP, other health safety net programs, By Kate Giammarise and Sean D. Hamill, September 26, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Federal funding for several health care safety-net programs is set to expire at the end of the week unless Congress takes action — a prospect that is looking increasingly less likely, advocates say, as the clock ticks and congressional energy is consumed by an 11th-hour attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act…”
  • Medicaid covers all that? It’s more than just health care for the poor, By Phil Galewitz, September 27, 2017, Governing: “When high levels of lead were discovered in the public water system in Flint, Mich., in 2015, Medicaid stepped in to help thousands of children get tested for poisoning and receive care. When disabled children need to get to doctors’ appointments — either across town or hundreds of miles away — Medicaid pays for their transportation.  When middle-class older Americans deplete their savings to pay for costly nursing home care, Medicaid offers coverage.  The United States has become a Medicaid nation…”

SCHIP Reauthorization

Deadline looms for Congress to reauthorize insurance program for low-income kids, By Jennifer Brooks, August 22, 2017, Star Tribune: “Time is running short for Congress to fund a program that covers health care for more than 100,000 Minnesota children. When federal lawmakers return to work in September, they will have until the end of the month to hammer out the entire 2018 federal budget, avoid a government shutdown, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, prevent the National Flood Insurance Program from lapsing and tackle tax reform…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

As GOP tarries on health bill, funding for children’s health languishes, By Julie Rovner, May 22, 2017, National Public Radio: “Back in January, Republicans boasted they would deliver a “repeal and replace” bill for the Affordable Care Act to President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the month. In the interim, that bravado has faded as their efforts stalled and they found out how complicated undoing a major law can be. With summer just around the corner, and most of official Washington swept up in scandals surrounding Trump, the health overhaul delays are starting to back up the rest of the 2018 agenda. One of the immediate casualties is the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP covers just under 9 million children in low- and moderate-income families, at a cost of about $15 billion a year…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage – Arizona

Arizona becomes the last state to provide health insurance to low-income children, By Lenny Bernstein, July 25, 2016, Washington Post: “Arizona is rejoining a children’s health insurance program for low and middle-income families, becoming the last state in the union to provide coverage for health care, dental care, speech therapy and other services to families who don’t qualify for Medicaid…”

Health Insurance Coverage

Medicaid, CHIP add 10.1 million since insurance marketplaces opened, By Tony Pugh, February 2, 2015, Fresno Bee: “More than 10.1 million people have enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the first 14 months since marketplace enrollment began, the Obama administration reported Monday. That’s a 17.5 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment of both programs just before marketplace health insurance became available in October 2013…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

  • Children’s health program faces cloudy future under ACA, By Christine Vestal, December 4, 2014, Stateline: “The Children’s Health Insurance Program got a big boost under the Affordable Care Act, which called for an increase in federal funding for the program and required states to maintain 2010 enrollment levels through 2019. But in the waning days of the lame-duck Congress, it is still not clear when or whether funding for the federal-state, low-income children’s health plan known as CHIP will be authorized beyond Sept. 30, when it is set to expire…”
  • Reports: Fewer uninsured children in Florida, but challenges ahead for public program, By Daniel Chang, December 4, 2014, Miami Herald: “In Florida, as in the rest of the nation, the number of children without healthcare coverage has declined during the last five years — but the Sunshine State still has one of the country’s highest rates of uninsured children, a challenge that could be met or missed depending on policy decisions on the state and federal levels, according to a brief published this week by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. While the number of uninsured children aged 18 and younger in the state has decreased from about 668,000 in 2008 to 445,000 in 2013, according to the report, Florida has the highest rate in the South and fifth highest in the nation…”

States and Children’s Health Care Coverage

State steps up health care coverage for kids, By Deborah Barfield Berry, January 18, 2012, Montgomery Advertiser: “Alabama’s successful efforts to increase the number of children with health care coverage has made it a standout in the region, according to a national study released Wednesday. The study by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured lists Alabama among four states that are regional leaders in making gains in children’s health care. The others are Iowa, Massachusetts and Oregon. Alabama recognizes the importance of health care coverage for kids, said Trisha Brooks, a co-author of the report and a senior fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families…”

States and Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

State efforts put more children on health insurance rolls, despite economic downturn, By N.C. Aizenman, December 27, 2011, Washington Post: “Publicly funded programs have enabled 1.2 million more children to gain health insurance since 2008 – at least in part due to extra work by many states to ensure that more of the children who are eligible for the programs are actually signed up, Obama administration officials plan to announce Wednesday. Twenty-three states are to be awarded federal performance bonuses totaling nearly $300 million for these efforts. Maryland and Virginia have qualified for the two largest amounts – $28.3 million and $26.7 million, respectively – under an incentive plan aimed at improving child enrollment rates in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP…”

States and Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

  • Study: Even with more kids in poverty, number of uninsured children fell 14% over 3 years, Associated Press, November 29, 2011, Washington Post: “Even with more children living in poverty because of the rough economy, the number of children without health insurance in the U.S. has dropped by 1 million in the past three years, according to a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University. Many states have expanded eligibility for, and simplified access to, the children’s Medicaid program. This has helped shrink the number of uninsured children from 6.9 million in 2008 to 5.9 million in 2010. Experts say the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care overhaul that requires states to maintain income eligibility levels and discourages other barriers to coverage, has played a key role in the improvement…”
  • Safety-net programs insure more Texas children, By Todd Ackerman, November 29, 2011, Houston Chronicle: “Houston-area children’s health insurance is increasingly being provided by government safety-net programs as employers cut jobs and benefits, according to a new study. The survey, sponsored by Texas Children’s Hospital, found that in the last three years, area children’s enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program doubled as coverage through work-based plans decreased significantly. This shift comes in a state known for not embracing government health programs…”
  • Number of uninsured Minnesota kids climbs, By Jeremy Olson, November 29, 2011, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “The number of children without health insurance rose sharply in the past two years in Minnesota, making it the only state to see a significant increase since 2008, according to a report released Tuesday. Uninsured Minnesota kids totaled 84,000, although that number could fall again as a result of changes enacted by the Legislature in 2009. The uninsured rate rose from 5.8 to 6.6 percent. While Minnesota’s rate remains better than the national average of 8 percent, the state is no longer among the nation’s best…”
  • Utah lags behind other states in covering kids, By Kirsten Stewart, November 29, 2011, Salt Lake Tribune: “Even as unemployment and child poverty has grown, the uninsured rate for children nationally – and in Utah – has shrunk, an analysis of census data shows. From 2008 to 2010 the number of American children living in poverty rose 19 percent, while the number of uninsured children fell 14 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. How, given the high cost of health care, is this possible? Two words, say Georgetown researchers: Medicaid and CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program…”

Children’s Health Insurance Program – Arizona

Number of AZ children enrolled in KidsCare drops, By Max Levy, August 31, 2011, Houston Chronicle: “The number of children enrolled in a state-federal health insurance program for youth on the brink of poverty has plummeted from a peak of 66,317 in May 2008 to 16,662 this month, the lowest level since 1999. The drop comes as demand for the program is going strong: In July, more than 100,000 children were on the waiting list for KidsCare, the state’s version of the federally sponsored Children’s Health Insurance Program. More than half of the decline has come since Jan. 1, 2010, when the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System froze enrollment in KidsCare in response to a lack of funding, according to its website…”

State Medicaid Programs – Georgia, Utah

  • State proposes increases in Medicaid co-pays, By Misty Williams, July 14, 2011, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Children could be among the hardest hit by proposed increases in co-pays for Medicaid enrollees and the creation of co-pays for families in the state’s PeachCare for Kids health care program starting this fall. A plan to double existing co-pays for inpatient hospital services to $25 is also among the changes proposed by the Georgia Department of Community Health that would save the state an estimated $4.2 million. Co-pays for prescription drugs, vision care and other services would also climb under the plan outlined at a department board meeting Thursday. Children ages 6 and older enrolled in PeachCare would be the most dramatically affected by the changes, which would take effect Sept. 1, since those families don’t currently have co-pays, said Jerry Dubberly, the state’s Medicaid division chief. PeachCare provides health care to more than 200,000 children through age 18 who don’t qualify for Medicaid and have family incomes up to 235 percent of the federal poverty level…”
  • Fewer Utah doctors to treat Medicaid patients, By Kirsten Stewart, July 10, 2011, Salt Lake Tribune: “When people ask family practitioner Ray Ward if he does charity care, he likes to joke, ‘Yes, I take Medicaid.’ It means making less money, but the Bountiful doctor does it out of a sense of duty. ‘I still come out OK at the end of the year,’ he says. ‘So far, I haven’t had to turn anyone away. I still accept [Medicaid] patients.’ Physicians like Ward, however, are in increasingly short supply. In Utah the number of doctors who accept Medicaid has shrunk 25 percent in 11 years. This year, 3,166 doctors are certified to bill the low-income health program, down from 4,210 in 2000. That’s just over half of the state’s 5,844 practicing physicians. Meanwhile, Medicaid enrollment, now at about 244,470, is swelling with no immediate end in sight…”

Access to Health Care for Children on Public Insurance

  • Study shows Medicaid kids are denied medical care, By Lindsey Tanner (AP), June 16, 2011, USA Today: “Children on public insurance are being denied treatment by doctors at much higher rates than those with private coverage, according to an undercover study that had researchers pose as parents of sick kids seeking an appointment with a specialist. Snubbed even by specialists whose offices supposedly accept public insurance patients, these kids also had to wait much longer to see a doctor. Low Medicaid reimbursements are the likely reason, the study authors said. The study was done in Cook County, Ill., the nation’s second-most populous county which includes Chicago, but the researchers and others say the results likely reflect practices around the country…”
  • Penn study finds doctors delaying or rejecting specialty care for publicly insured children, By Marie McCullough, June 16, 2011, Philadelphia Inquirer: “A University of Pennsylvania study in which callers posed as mothers seeking pediatric specialty care found that two-thirds of publicly insured children were refused a doctor’s appointment, compared with only 11 percent of privately insured children. Even the low-income children who were not rejected had to wait an average of 42 days for appointments for urgent conditions such as diabetes, seizures, asthma, or a bone fracture – 22 days longer on average than children with private insurance…”

States and Health Insurance Coverage

  • Vermont health plan advances, By Janet Adamy, May 25, 2011, Wall Street Journal: “Vermont is moving one step closer to a goal of its Democratic governor: a state-run health plan that would insure most of its 625,000 residents. The bill Gov. Peter Shumlin plans to sign on Thursday would create a panel whose goal would be to figure out how to pay for a new system intended to reduce the rate of overall health-cost increases. The challenge is to figure out how to finance such a system and convince the federal government to allow the experiment to proceed as soon as 2017. It’s far from clear Vermont can make it all work…”
  • Hickenlooper vetoes bill raising premiums for some in Colorado health program, By Lynn Bartels, June 1, 2011, Denver Post: “Gov. John Hickenlooper issued his first veto Tuesday, nixing a measure that would have required certain parents whose children are enrolled in a state health care plan to pay higher premiums. Hickenlooper said Senate Bill 213 would have increased premium costs a ‘dramatic’ 1,000 percent, possibly pushing as many as 2,500 kids out of a program intended to help those struggling financially. Various groups, including the Colorado Children’s Campaign and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, hailed the veto, as did several Democratic lawmakers. But Republicans said the Democratic governor missed his chance at entitlement reform…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • GOP: Feds should let states tighten Medicaid eligibility, By Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz, May 24, 2011, Miami Herald: “With their proposal to turn Medicaid into block grants all but dead, Republicans are pushing legislation to let states tighten eligibility rules for the health program for poor people and those with disabilities. The move, which would affect Medicaid as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, would help cash-strapped states save money, but it also could cause hundreds of thousands of people to lose health coverage. While Democrats strenuously oppose the proposed Medicaid change, some advocates and physicians groups worry that the issue could wind up as a bargaining chip in the partisan wrangling over raising the federal debt limit and reducing the budget deficit…”
  • Christie eyes curb on Medicaid rolls, By Matt Katz and Maya Rao, May 23, 2011, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Gov. Christie plans to seek approval for a proposal that would deny Medicaid coverage to adults in a family of four with an annual household income of little more than $6,000, down from the current $30,000. A single mother raising three children who earned as little as $118 a week would not qualify for the government-funded medical coverage. The eligibility-requirement change, which must be cleared by the Obama administration and would apply only to new adult Medicaid applicants, would follow Christie’s eliminating – for the second year – a long-standing line item that would provide nearly $7.5 million in funding to family-planning clinics…”
  • State drops managed-care Medicaid plan for 5 counties, By Charles S. Johnson, May 23, 2011, Billings Gazette: “The Schweitzer administration has abandoned its controversial plan to set up a Medicaid managed-care demonstration project in Lewis and Clark, Cascade, Choteau, Teton and Judith Basin counties. The Gazette State Bureau reported last fall that the Schweitzer administration since August 2009 had discussed using managed-card Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care for the poor and disabled. One major proposal came from Centene Corp., a large managed-care firm based in St. Louis. It was based on the idea that the private company would be paid a certain amount of money for each patient and ‘manage’ that patient’s care by directing him or her to lower-cost health care. That, in turn, was supposed to save money for both the state and the company.
    By last week, the state pulled the plug on the idea…”
  • U.S. objects to new law on clinics in Indiana, By Robert Pear, May 22, 2011, New York Times: “The Obama administration is raising serious objections to a new Indiana law that cuts off state and federal money for Planned Parenthood clinics providing health care to low-income women on Medicaid. The objections set the stage for a clash between the White House and Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, over an issue that ignites passions in both parties. The changes in Indiana are subject to federal review and approval, and administration officials have made it clear they will not approve the changes in the form adopted by the state. Federal officials have 90 days to act but may feel pressure to act sooner because Indiana is already enforcing its law, which took effect on May 10, and because legislators in other states are working on similar measures…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Healthcare safety nets kept intact with help from Washington, By Noam N. Levey, January 12, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “Bolstered by billions of dollars in aid from Washington, states managed to hold their healthcare safety nets together last year despite the fallout from the recession, a new survey shows. Several states actually expanded coverage for poor children and adults, using Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to prevent more Americans from losing insurance in the economic downturn, according to the report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Now, however, with emergency federal aid scheduled to end this year, it is unclear how much longer financially strained states will be able to head off cutbacks. Republican governors, many of whom have criticized the new healthcare law’s dependence on Medicaid to guarantee all Americans coverage, are pushing the Obama administration for permission to cut their programs…”
  • Feds helped states sustain Medicaid, By Catherine Candisky, January 12, 2011, Columbus Dispatch: “Almost no state threw people out of its tax-funded Medicaid program last year, a new report found. In fact, more than half made it easier for qualified poor and disabled residents to enroll, blunting a spike in the ranks of the uninsured despite the recession and tight state budgets. Ohio was among both groups. A big reason: Billions in added federal aid to states were contingent on them not dropping Medicaid recipients, the annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found. The report comes just four days after Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 32 other Republican governors sent a letter to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders urging them to allow states to cut Medicaid without risking federal cuts. Ohio is facing a projected $8 billion shortfall in its next two-year state budget as state Medicaid rolls have reached 2 million, including 1 in 3 children. A few states, including Texas, have suggested eliminating Medicaid entirely…”
  • Coverage for millions – especially kids – at stake in governors’ request, By Jim Saunders, January 11, 2011, Miami Herald: “Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican governors are asking the federal government to give them more power to trim Medicaid eligibility to help control costs. But a report released today has a different take on the situation: It credits federal requirements with helping avoid cutbacks in Medicaid and children’s health programs, as states have dealt with huge budget shortfalls during the past year. ‘Keeping these programs stable and strong has helped protect children and avoid an even larger increase in the nation’s 50 million uninsured and will be key to ensuring the success of health-reform implementation over the next few years,’ Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said in prepared statement. The report, released by the foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, found that eligibility and enrollment requirements remained the same or improved in almost every state during 2010 in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program…”

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

Medicaid bonuses to reward states for insuring more children, By Kevin Sack, December 27, 2010, Washington Post: “The Obama administration plans to announce Monday that it will make $206 million in bonus Medicaid payments to 15 states – with more than a fourth of the total going to Alabama – for signing up children who are eligible for public health insurance but had previously failed to enroll. The payments, which were established when Congress and President Obama reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2009, are aimed at one of the most persistent frustrations in government health care: the inability to enroll an estimated 4.7 million children who would be eligible for subsidized coverage if their families could be found and alerted. Two of every three uninsured children are thought to meet the income criteria for government insurance programs…”

Health Insurance Coverage in the US

  • Number of uninsured U.S. adults hits record high, By Steven Reinberg, November 10, 2010, USA Today: “Nearly 50 million Americans have gone without health insurance for at least part of the past year – up from 46 million people in 2008, federal health officials reported Tuesday. Those people included not only those Americans living in poverty, but an increasing number of middle-income people, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘The bottom line is that uninsurance of young and middle-class adults increased by 4 million people from 2008 to the first quarter of 2010,’ CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said during a news conference Tuesday. What’s more, the number of people without insurance for a year or more increased from 27.5 million in 2008 to 30.4 million in the first quarter of 2010, Frieden said. ‘That’s an increase of 3 million of chronically uninsured adults…'”
  • Report: 59 million Americans lack health care, By Joshua Norman, November 10, 2010, CBS News: “More than 59 million Americans had no health insurance for at least part of 2010, an increase of 4 million from the previous year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported Tuesday. While the worsening economic conditions did have a direct impact on the number of Americans with coverage, the situation also meant that a far greater number of Americans are forgoing needed medical care because of costs…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

  • Some insured kids miss proper health care due to costs, By Jenifer Goodwin, October 7, 2010, USA Today: “About 13% of parents with health insurance say they haven’t gotten pediatrician-recommended care for their children due to costs, a new survey in Ohio finds. Parents of kids covered by private health insurance were more likely than those with public health insurance such as Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to report forgoing care such as seeing a recommended specialist, filling a prescription or getting a lab test because of difficulty paying for it. In the survey, about 61% of parents had children covered by private insurance while about 39% had public insurance. Researchers queried 1,978 parents at pediatricians’ offices in the summer of 2009 in three counties in Ohio about their income, type of insurance and ability to access medical care for their children…”
  • Government helps to insure children, even above the poverty line, By Lesley Alderman, October 8, 2010, New York Times: “The last few years have not been easy for Dean McCrea. In 2007, Mr. McCrea, 55, lost his wife of nearly 30 years. Then last November the company he worked for folded, and he could not afford to pay the steep Cobra premiums required to keep health insurance for him and his son, Henry, 16. Mr. McCrea, a media producer in Portland, Ore., receives $380 a week in unemployment benefits, which barely covers his mortgage; Henry receives a small stipend from Social Security each month. ‘The last years have been a constant navigation of what feels like Class 5 rapids,’ he said. In June, Mr. McCrea’s luck turned, a little. He learned about Healthy Kids, the state’s health insurance program for middle-class families, and promptly enrolled his son. The program provides Henry with full health coverage, including vision and dental. The cost: $38 a month. ‘A lot of people in my circle, solid middle-class families, are struggling,’ Mr. McCrea said. ‘The peace of mind that this program has supplied me is not measurable.’ Government health insurance for children is no longer available only for the poorest households. Now middle-class families like the McCreas, struggling through the recession, can benefit as well. The Census Bureau recently reported that the poverty rate was up, and the number of insured adults was down. But the news was brighter for children. The percentage of children under age 19 with insurance edged up to 91 percent last year, a record high, from 90.3 percent in 2008…”