SCHIP-ing Away at School Absenteeism: Does the State Children’s Health Insurance Program Improve Children’s Attendance in School?

Client: Research on Children's Health Insurance
Faculty: Amy Ellen Schwartz and Peter Teitelbaum
Team: Brad Gunton, Dylan Kalbacher, Jed Seltzer, Hannah Wesolowski, Ryan Yeung
Year: 2006
As a response to the growing number of uninsured children in the United States, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was signed into law by President Clinton in 1997 as Title XXI of the Social Security Act. The legislation provides states with matching federal funds greater than those available under Medicaid, but at capped annual rates. The stated objective of the SCHIP program is to provide meaningful health insurance coverage for at least half of the uninsured children and adolescents through age eighteen in families with income too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private health insurance. In order to gauge the effectiveness of SCHIP in contributing to national improvements in overall child health, this study looks at the percent average daily school attendance to determine whether, controlling for a variety of factors, improved access to health care has enabled children to participate in normal activities, including attending school. In addition, this study further examines states’ variations in SCHIP benefits and structure and the resulting impact on program effectiveness.