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SCHIP: State Children's Health Insurance Program

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SCHIP: State Children's Health Insurance Program

January 27, 2010

Created by Congress in 1997, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)  provides coverage for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private insurance. States set their own income eligibility requirements, and the federal government matches a portion of each state's spending each year, up to a capped amount that is not enough to cover all children.

In 2007, President George W. Bush had vetoed legislation to expand SCHIP and implemented rules that tightened eligibility, raising some concerns that poor children's access to health care might be reduced.

In his first weeks in office, President Barack Obama signed legislation to expand SCHIP to cover an additional 4 million uninsured children at a cost of $32.8 billion, bringing the total number covered to about 11 million.  Even so, between 4 and 5 million children will remain uninsured. The current uncertain state of health reform makes SCHIP's future unclear as well. Updated March 2010.

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