Medicaid/SCHIP Cuts and Hospital Emergency Department Use

January/February 2006
Health Affairs , Vol. 25, No. 1
Peter J. Cunningham

This paper, commissioned by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) with additional support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, uses data from the 2000–01 and 2003 Community Tracking Study household surveys to examine how decreases in enrollment in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and increases in the number of uninsured people would affect the volume and distribution of emergency department (ED) use among low-income people. A decrease in Medicaid/SCHIP enrollment would lead to an increase in ED visits by the uninsured but little change in overall ED volume. The results suggest that cost containment efforts that reduce eligibility and enrollment will achieve cost savings largely by reducing access and shifting costs away from Medicaid/SCHIP.

Note: A free copy of this article is available on the KFF Web site by clicking here.

In a From the Journals audio interview, KFF’s Jackie Judd discusses the research with Cunningham. The interview is available by clicking here. From the Journals highlights current research on health policy published in major professional journals and is part of the special interview series "A Closer Look."