While state AAP chapters are all over the map in their preparations for the new $48 billion State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Academy has approved a national strategy to help support state efforts.

The SCHIP legislation, approved in September as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, releases federal funds over the next 10 years to states for health coverage of uninsured children. Nationally, an estimated 3.9 million low-income uninsured children are eligible.

To receive the federal funds, states must provide matching shares in amounts based on their Medicaid contributions. State shares range between 15 percent and 35 percent of total program costs.

Alabama has become the first state to win Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) approval of its plan. Fifteen other states have submitted their plans, and HCFA officials have indicated approval is imminent for some. At the other extreme, Montana and Wyoming health officials acknowledge a hard sell ahead convincing their state legislators to set aside money for SCHIP.

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