Christian Science Monitor Examines Recent Decrease in SCHIP Enrollment
The Christian Science Monitor on Monday examined the recent decrease in SCHIP enrollment (Marks, Christian Science Monitor, 8/2). SCHIP enrollment decreased in the second half of 2003, the first six-month decrease since the program began in 1997, according to a Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured report released last month. Nationwide, SCHIP enrollment totaled 3.927 million in December 2003, a decrease from a high of 3.964 million in June 2003, the report found. According to the report, SCHIP enrollment increased in 37 states and decreased in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.(AP/Las Vegas Sun, 7/23).
Several analysts said that the decrease in SCHIP enrollment is "budget-driven" and could "signal the end of SCHIP's surprising resilience" and "push up even higher the overall number of uninsured in the country -- now estimated at 44 million -- along with the price paid by all Americans for health insurance," the Monitor reports. Since 1992, the number of uninsured U.S. residents has increased by 30%, and analysts "agree that the number ... would be far higher had SCHIP not been enacted," according to the Monitor. The decrease in SCHIP enrollment "indicates to people on both sides of the political divide that some kind of comprehensive health care reform is needed urgently," but the "problem is coming up with a comprehensive approach that Democrats and Republicans can agree on," the Monitor reports (Christian Science Monitor, 8/2).