June 2021
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What Did Chipra Achieve During 2009?

Almost immediately President Obama took control of the White House, the combined majorities in both chambers were used to enact the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA). As has become the norm, the Republican party opposed the law. So, now that we have one year of experience, it’s interesting to revisit the Act to see whether this allegedly socialist measure has worked for good or the evil predicted by the GOP. The purpose was to help the millions of children whose parents had fallen on hard times and could no longer afford private family health plans. In effect, the recession was creating an underclass of children who were potentially uninsured. By making an immediate transfer of funds to individual states, local governments were able to expand their own medical coverage programs to admit more families in need. The current estimate is that about 2.5 million children were allowed into either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This was achieved by a simple change.

All but two of the 50 US states have used the additional federal funding to cover a family of four where the parents earn up to $48,000. This is significantly more than the national poverty level and allows more people into the state schemes albeit, in all but nineteen states, the parents must pay a small monthly premium and some out-of-pocket expenses. Despite increasing the family income threshold, the extent of the coverage has actually reduced in fifteen states. The politics of entitlement is always a complicated affair. The CHIPRA process has required some states to dismantle some of their bureaucratic barriers. Fast track or express lane procedures have been put in place to avoid long waiting lists and delays. With streamlined enrollment, children have been added to the programs on the basis of immediate need, with the follow-up work of verifying family status and income being completed later. The President’s wish to make the children the main focus of attention has been respected.

At an administrative level, there is an improved system for the exchange of information between states, and between states and the federal agencies. The intention is to create a full Electronic Health Record for every child so that, no matter where the child presents with symptoms, his or her records can be made available. If this system can be implemented, the expectation is that the quality of pediatric health care will improve and medical costs will be reduced as the flow of information will improve diagnosis without the need to go through detailed tests every time. There is a budget of $33 billion allocated to cover development of an improved health care delivery service for children.

This is a good report card for the first year of additional and targeted funding. Even though some state governments have resisted the federal plan to increase accessibility to Medicaid and CHIP, the number of children newly admitted is encouraging. So, if none of the health insurance quotes you receive when you use this site’s search engine offer you affordable coverage, do not give up. Federal and state funding is available to ensure that your children get the medical treatment they need when it is needed. Of course, this is not going to help if your family earnings are too high. In such cases, you may have to get health insurance quotes for more limited coverage. Otherwise, shop around to find individual doctors or clinics who quote the lowest prices for different treatments. Money can be saved if you take the time to use the internet search engines.

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Want to see what Norris Rios has to say on other topics? With years of experience Norris Rios is a constant writer for and you can see all his contributions on that site.

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