Millions of children in the United States lack health insurance. Research shows that these uninsured children are far less likely to receive medical care than are their peers with health insurance. They have more avoidable hospitalizations and worse asthma outcomes, and they are at higher risk of having truancy problems.
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997 as a federal-state partnership administered by every state to provide health insurance to those children who neither qualify for Medicaid nor have access to other forms of insurance. In fiscal year 2013, CHIP covered 8.1 million children at a total cost of more than $13 billion.
And since its inception, the program has been instrumental in reducing the number of uninsured children nationally from 10.7 million (15 percent of all children) in 1997 to 6.6 million (9 percent) in 2012. To provide policymakers and other stakeholders with a better understanding of CHIP's impact in the states, researchers from the State Health Care Spending Project -- a collaborative effort of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation -- examined key facets of the program and how it is administered, analyzing data on CHIP spending and enrollment for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
To place such data in context, this report also examined data on other insurance coverage and spending, state revenue, and overall national health expenditures.By design, CHIP gives states flexibility in how they structure their programs and spend their designated dollars to extend health insurance to uninsured children. As a result, the implementation of the program varies widely among the states