How Bipartisanship and Incrementalism Stitched the Child Health Insurance Safety Net (1982–1997)

Source: Samuel S. Flint, Health & Social Work, Volume 39, Issue 2, May 2014
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From the abstract:
Today, 96.5 percent of children and adolescents either have health insurance or are uninsured but eligible for a public plan. This proportion far exceeds the most optimistic coverage projections for adults under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The child health insurance safety net was crafted from 1982 to 1997 through several incremental, bipartisan federal and state legislative actions. It began by offering and later mandating state Medicaid eligibility expansions and culminated with the enactment of the State Child Health Insurance Program. Two-thirds of the states leveraged these laws to expand coverage beyond federal requirements. As a senior executive with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the author was directly involved or closely monitored these federal and state child health insurance expansions. This case study is a participant–observer analysis of that period, an era that stands in stark contrast to today’s highly partisan times. The successive expansions of publicly funded children’s health insurance during this conservative period, when many other human services programs were slashed, are attributed to public sympathy for children, political acceptability by the right and the left, manageable costs, and the relative ease of state implementation as these changes came in incremental pieces over several years.