CHIP: States Report Varying Degrees of Enrollment
The Children's Defense Fund released a report yesterday detailing the differences between state's children's health insurance programs. Millions of children are currently eligible but not receiving Medicaid or CHIP benefits, despite the $48 billion Congress gave states three years ago for their health coverage. The study detailed the state rankings of child enrollment in health plans and found varying degrees of success among the states. The ten highest- ranking states that have succeeded in enrolling more than 50% of the total number of eligible children include Alaska, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina and Arkansas. New York were the two states most loudly applauded, achieving their high child enrollment rates through aggressive outreach programs. In Alaska, social marketing, close partnership with the Indian Health Service, the development of a Web site and the use of allocated funds helped the state achieve its high ranking. In New York, which previously had 729,000 uninsured children, active support from Gov. George Pataki (R) is credited for that state's success. Among the states ranking lowest in the CDF report, nine actually have enrolled fewer children than before CHIP began, including Michigan with a loss of 78,081, Texas with a loss of 53,638 and Oregon with a loss of 53,439. California and Texas both had more than one million uninsured children before CHIP. Dr. Margo Edmunds, director of CDF's Health Division and the lead author of the report, noted, "One out of three uninsured children in the United States live in just two states, California and Texas. If those states enrolled all of their eligible children, the national numbers would improve significantly." In addition, the report found the rates of uninsured children to be one in three among Hispanic children, one in five among black children and one in nine among white children. Further, nine of 10 uninsured children live with parents who work. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman said, "We have waited patiently for states to get their programs up and running. It is time for every state to find and enroll every eligible child in CHIP or Medicaid. ... We must do more to ensure all children have a chance at good health by giving them coverage" (PR Newswire, 8/10). To read the entire report, titled "All Over the Map," go to http://www.childrensdefense.org/.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.