SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program)

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP or CHIP, was officially ushered into the cannon of governmental programs in 1997. Although its passage in Congress was touted as a bipartisan effort, many have suspected that SCHIP was a subtle attempt to enact some of the nationalized health care mandates that HillaryCare was unable to institute. The goal of SCHIP was to provide healthcare for children whose family incomes were too low to afford adequate health coverage, but too high to be eligible for the government’s Medicaid program.

To many people, the goal of providing government health insurance for needy children sounds like a praiseworthy attempt that should be supported. Proponents are quick to point out that rising insurance costs, the bad economy, and numerous other facts are all indicators that SCHIP is a necessary program.

Despite these plausible facts, the deeper implications of SCHIP have engendered a variety of skepticisms. In the eyes of SCHIP’s opponents, the program accepts and provides insurance for children whose families make a decent income, thus placing an unnecessary strain on America’s taxpayers. This fact can in turn cause many people to abandon their private health coverage, which subsequently drives up costs for Americans who pay for their own health insurance. Opponents of SCHIP also point out that the program can encourage a welfare and entitlement mentality, which then discourages families from establishing themselves on firmer financial ground.

These issues were thoroughly discussed several years ago as the reauthorization of SCHIP approached. Due to the fact that SCHIP funding was strained and many American children remained uninsured, some members of Congress pushed for a greater expansion of the program. However, because of partisan differences, SCHIP was not reauthorized until early in Barack Obama’s first presidential term. According to a speech given by President Obama, SCHIP reauthorization was “only a first step” toward his “commitment to cover every single American” with health insurance.

In order to better acquaint readers with the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, this library section provides a variety of data on the funding and coverage procedures used in SCHIP. This section also focuses on a number of alternative ways in which health care for children can be more attainable and affordable without straining the government’s pocketbook.  

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Quote Page

Quotes on the Children's Health Insurance Program from leading politicians and economists.

Commentary or Blog Post

"The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP, formerly the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)) was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, enacted Title XXI of the Social Security Act, and has allocated about $20 billion over 10 years to help states insure low-income children who are ineligible for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance. States receive an enhanced...

This article reports on the 2009 reauthorization of SCHIP under President Barack Obama.

According to Michael Cannon, if President Obama really wants to show care and concern for America's "uninsured children," he should immediately eliminate the SCHIP program.

According to Grace-Marie Turner, there are four main reasons why SCHIP expansion is a bad idea. Included in these four reasons is the fact that insurance coverage and care will be reduced while also taking away individual liberty in health decisions.

According to Gary Galles, some of the arguments against SCHIP include the facts that SCHIP covers adults, oppresses the poor, and encourages a move toward socialized medicine.

In this article, Michael Cannon offers nine brief arguments against SCHIP.

One of the many unintended consequences that can occur with programs such as SCHIP is something known as "crowd-out."

Franc notes the similarities between SCHIP and the HillaryCare program of the nineties, suggesting that SCHIP was crafted to slowly accomplish what HillaryCare could not.

In this piece, Michael Cannon makes the case for eliminating the SCHIP program and replacing it with the free market idea of buying health insurance across state lines.

This article reports on a GAO survey which determined that a large amount of adults are covered under SCHIP, a program which is supposed to be providing health insurance to children, not adults.

This paper shows how SCHIP funds end up being unfairly allocated to states with a wealthier population, while poorer states are shortchanged.

Chart or Graph

By CBO’s estimates, maintaining the states’ current programs under SCHIP would require funding of $39 billion for the 2007–2012 period and $98 billion over the 2007–2017 period.

We look at the coverage status of the parents of SCHIP enrollees to gain insights into their access to employer-sponsored coverage.

To maintain the current level of services, the overall amount of federal funding written into the reauthorization bill would need to adjust for population growth and health care inflation.

During the original SCHIP debate in 1997, the goal of insuring 10 million children was widely shared.

Despite gains in coverage for children, about 9 million children under age 19 were uninsured in 2005.

States have some autonomy in designing their SCHIP programs. A state can expand the existing Medicaid program, set up a separate program, or use a combination of the two.

Analysis Report White Paper

This study analyzes how many children are in SCHIP, how many non-enrollees are actually eligible for SCHIP, and how many enrollees are eligible for some other form of insurance.

This study examines how different states implemented SCHIP, the potential monetary shortfalls that the program could experience, and the effects SCHIP has had on reducing the number of uninsured children in the United States.

This paper examines the potential that SCHIP reauthorization and expansion could have on SCHIP recipients and the rest of the American public.

This study seeks to discover whether or not crowd-out is really a problem with the implementation of SCHIP.

This piece provides details about how SCHIP came to be and how the program functions.

Smith examines the many pitfalls evident in SCHIP and the mistakes that Congress made in their efforts to expand the program.

This piece covers the implications of both Medicaid and SCHIP, discussing the expansion of these two programs and the true benefits that they have produced for lower income families.

Authoring this piece to mark the tenth anniversary of SCHIP, Jeanne Lambrew describes how the program came to be, the effects that it has had on the children and families enrolled in it, and the possible future that the program faces.


In this podcast, Cannon gives a good explanation of how SCHIP and its state and federal funding process works. Cannon also opines that the expansion of SCHIP is politically lucrative.

Many who support the expansion of SCHIP often accuse their opponents of not caring about children. This video, however, declares that opposition to SCHIP is not synonymous with being anti-child.

According to Ernest Istook, expansion of SCHIP is only a step toward universal health care.

Primary Document

After several years of debate and contention, the State Children's Health Insurance Program was finally reauthorized under President Barack Obama.

This book-length study examines the experiences of SCHIP participants in ten states across the country.




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