Two Years After CHIP

Kids Coverage Survives the Recession, but Wide Differences between States Persist

On February 4, 2009, in the midst of a severe recession, President Obama signed legislation reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), preserving health insurance coverage for millions of kids in the U.S.

Two years later, a new state-by-state scorecard reveals that the CHIP reauthorization and Medicaid expansions in the economic stimulus bill succeeded in preserving and, in some states, even expanding health coverage for kids, in spite of the economic downturn. That’s the good news.

But The Commonwealth Fund scorecard (the Fund is a Burness client) also shows a more complex picture: some kids face very different health care realities than others – and there’s plenty of room for improvement. Among the states, wide gaps persist: gaps in coverage rates, affordability of care, the delivery of preventive care, and, ultimately, children’s opportunity to lead healthy lives.

Read the report, Securing a Healthy Future: The Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard of Child Health System Performance, 2011

Using Top-Performing States as a Benchmark for the Nation

The scorecard finds that if all states performed as well as the top-ranked states – Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire — on a set of key indicators, the map above would look a lot different:

  • 5.6 million additional children would have health insurance;
  • 10.2 million more children would receive routine preventive medical and dental check-ups;
  • Nearly 600,000 more children would be up-to-date on their vaccinations; and
  • 8.8 million more children would have a medical home.

What’s Next?

Two years after the CHIP reauthorization, it’s clear that progress has been made towards covering the nation’s children. But despite these advances, the researchers say there’s much more to be done:

“A healthy start in life is essential for a child’s success,” said coauthor and Commonwealth Fund Vice President Edward Schor, M.D. “The wide differences in health care across the U.S. puts that healthy start in jeopardy for millions of children. We can do better.”