The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – later known more simply as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children.
The program was designed with the intent to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.
At its creation in 1997, SCHIP was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage for children in the U.S. since Medicaid began in the 1960s. The statutory authority for SCHIP is under title XXI of the Social Security Act.
It was sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy in a partnership with Senator Orrin Hatch with support coming from First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Clinton administration. In FY 2008, the program faced funding shortfalls in several states.
During the administration of George W. Bush, two attempts to expand funding for the program failed when Bush vetoed them. Mr. Bush argued that such efforts were steps toward federalization of health care, and would "steer the program away from its core purpose of providing insurance for poor children and toward covering children from middle-class families."
On February 4, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the ''Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009'', expanding the healthcare program to an additional 4 million children and pregnant women, including for the first time legal immigrants without a waiting period.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011