Children’s Health Coverage
Healthy Kids programs have been successful at reducing the number of uninsured children in California, but such efforts face long-term funding problems and are looking for support from the state government, a study in the American Journal of Public Health found. Children's Health Initiative coalitions throughout California create Healthy Kids programs to provide health insurance for uninsured children, regardless of citizenship, who are ineligible for public insurance programs.
The researchers found that Healthy Kids programs statewide have provided coverage to more than 85,000 uninsured children. The Children's Health Initiative also has helped enroll eligible uninsured children in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families, California's State Children's Health Insurance Program. According to the authors, Healthy Kids and similar programs might become a model for other states facing a decline in employer-sponsored health coverage in conjunction with rising immigration and poverty rates.
The study identified several best practices that existing, planned and future CHIs should adopt, including:
- Maintaining strong leadership and a diverse coalition of stakeholders to help obtain broad support;
- Sharing experiences among counties to help design effective programs; and
- Obtaining a broad base of long-term financial assistance (Stevens et al., American Journal of Public Health, April 2007).
The U.S. child health care system needs "bold, well-defined, transformative and long-term reform" to remedy the current system's failures, according to a paper in an edition of the journal Health Affairs focusing on children's health.
The authors outline the reasons for reforming the current child health care system and recommend that policymakers pursue the following goals to overhaul the children's health care system:
- Develop a method of evaluating health outcomes specific to children;
- Push to develop high-level agencies focused on children's health at the national and state level; and
- Help disseminate information about effective approaches to children's health reform among government agencies and other organizations.
The paper concludes that the U.S. has the capacity and a responsibility to reform the system to combat future challenges in children's health (Halfon et al., Health Affairs, March/April 2007).
Links to other studies addressing children's health in the current edition of Health Affairs appear below.
- "Chipping Away at Health: More on the Relationship Between Income and Child Health" (Currie/Lin, Health Affairs, March/April 2007)
- "Reassessing How Society Prioritizes the Health of Young People" (Eisenberg/Freed, Health Affairs, March/April 2007)
- "SCHIP at a Crossroads: Experiences to Date and Challenges Ahead" (Kenney/Yee, Health Affairs, March/April 2007)
- "Medicaid at the Ten-Year Anniversary of SCHIP: Looking Back and Moving Forward" (Dubay et al., Health Affairs, March/April 2007)
- "Crossing the Medicaid-Private Insurance Divide: The Case of EPSDT" (Rosenbaum/Wise, Health Affairs, March/April 2007)
- "Universal Coverage for Children: Alternatives, Key Issues and Political Opportunities" (Berman, Health Affairs, March/April 2007)