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Covering Kids & Families Case Study of Oregon: Exploring Medicaid and SCHIP Enrollment Trends and Their Links to Policy and Practice

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The Covering Kids & Families (CKF) initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had two goals: to increase the amount of uninsured children and adults enrolled in Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and to discover ways to sustain the increase after the program's end. This report examines trends in Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment in Oregon between 1999 and 2004, during which time CFK was in operation.

In 1999, Oregon entered a budget crisis situation and by the end of 2001 the state had the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 7.5 percent.

Key Findings

* The Office of Medical Assistance Programs experienced budget cuts that adversely affected the implementation of the Oregon Health Plan.
* Changes in state policies restricted adult coverage in public health programs, which had significant spillover effects on the number of children entering such insurance programs.
* Enrollment of children in public health programs dwindled.

The authors acknowledge that although CFK did not meet its goals in Oregon, circumstances in the state have since improved. In March 2006, the governor announced a new program called Healthy Kids funded by a tobacco tax that will provide children health coverage to 18 years.