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SCHIP has been successful overall, should be expanded says new health care opinion leaders survey

New York City, April 23, 2007 -- As the debate over reauthorization of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) heats up in Washington, a new survey of leaders in health policy and health care finds that large majorities feel the program has been successful in increasing access to health care for low income children (71%) and in reducing the rate of uninsured, low-income children (65%).

Across the board, leaders feel that coverage should be expanded. In fact, 91% of respondents think SCHIP should be made available to legal immigrant children whose families meet income requirements. Eighty-two percent favor allowing families with higher incomes to buy into SCHIP, and 80% believe that states should be allowed to extend coverage to parents of children covered by SCHIP in states where there is no comprehensive coverage for the uninsured

While health care opinion leaders favor expansion of the program, they also support new provisions to the programs structure that would help the U.S. provide high-quality health care for all children. Four of five survey respondents (81%) were in favor of establishing federal performance standards and outcome measures for all children in SCHIP, and 69 percent favored measuring and reporting on the frequency and quality of developmental screening. Health care opinion leaders also support innovative mechanisms to encourage insurance plans and health care providers serving SCHIP families to provide higher-quality care. Seventy-eight percent of respondents favored requiring states to reward managed care plans and providers that meet benchmark levels of performance on developmental screening, preventive care, and follow-up treatment.

"Leading health care and health policy experts have clearly stated that SCHIP is a success and should be expanded," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "These opinion leaders have also expressed strong support for leveraging that success to create more value
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
23-Apr-2007


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