Georgetown University Report Finds Children’s Health Law Has Worked Well

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Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families released a progress report on the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which was signed into law three years ago. Since its enactment, the law has helped drive the number of uninsured children down by one million.

Jocelyn Guyer

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program has helped bring the uninsured rate for children to one of its lowest levels on record,” said Jocelyn Guyer of Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families released a progress report on the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which was signed into law three years ago. Since its enactment, the law has helped drive the number of uninsured children down by one million.

The new law, which was enacted on February 4, 2009, affirmed state flexibility to expand eligibility for health care coverage, introduced new opportunities to reduce paperwork and improve connections to coverage for kids, created incentives for states to streamline application and renewal procedures, and launched initiatives to assess and assure the quality of health care for children. Every state has benefited from one or more of opportunities created by the law to advance coverage for children, with some going much further than others.

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program has helped bring the uninsured rate for children to one of its lowest levels on record,” said Jocelyn Guyer, Co-Executive Director. “The progress is even more striking given that childhood poverty and adult uninsured rates jumped sharply over the same time period.”

CHIP works together with Medicaid to help families who are unable to afford private health insurance to secure coverage for their children. Both CHIP and Medicaid have proven to be vital lifelines for families who lost their jobs and their employer-based health insurance during the recession.

The report also found that the CHIP reauthorization law is helping government work smarter and respond better to the needs of children and families. For example, an innovative performance bonus provision has successfully encouraged states to reach out to more eligible children, making CHIP and Medicaid more accessible to families who qualify. The law helped motivate states to remove unnecessary barriers—like requiring a mailed paper form to renew coverage—that stood between children and consistent health coverage.

The CHIP reauthorization law got a major boost from the Affordable Care Act, which requires states to maintain children’s health care coverage levels through CHIP and Medicaid.

“With a weak economic recovery that has been slow to add new jobs with access to employer-based insurance, Medicaid and CHIP continue to be key sources of coverage for children, and, in some cases, their uninsured parents,” said Tricia Brooks, Senior Fellow.

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Cathy Hope
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