Squeezing SCHIP

Brief

Squeezing SCHIP

States Use Flexibility to Respond to the Ongoing Budget Crisis

Interviews with SCHIP administrators in 13 states indicate that cuts to SCHIP in FY 2003 were more widespread than in 2002. Virtually all states reduced or eliminated outreach activities. Four states either froze enrollment or reduced eligibility thresholds. Half the states raised premiums and copayments for program participants. Five states either froze or cut provider reimbursement. Compared with other areas in state budgets, state officials universally described SCHIP cuts as among the smallest, and last, to be adopted, reflecting policymakers' strong support of the program. In addition, most states continued to simplify enrollment, and generous benefits were maintained in all but two states. Despite the deeper cuts, states' capacity to insure children remains much stronger than before the creation of SCHIP in 1997.

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