Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Insuring Children’s Health: Contentious Politics and Public Policy

Alice Sardell
Insuring Children’s Health: Contentious Politics and Public Policy
ISBN: 978-1-62637-035-7
2014/183 pages/LC: 2013042269
"[Offers] insight into the role of history, policy actors, interest groups, and political parties in the enacted CHIP and its controversial reauthorization.... This is an important work."—Michael Doonan, Political Science Quarterly

"This important book offers a clear analysis of how health insurance coverage for children became a national priority."—James M. Brasfield, Webster University

"Impressive…. Provides new evidence and insights that go beyond the existing literature on CHIP."—Frank J. Thompson, Rutgers University


Assuring that low-income children have health coverage would seem to be a noncontroversial and popular issue. Yet, the policy history of US children’s health insurance is full of drama, and the fate of the federal State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has been marked by ideological conflict and two presidential vetoes. Why?

Alice Sardell answers this question through an examination of the policy legacies and decisions that shaped SCHIP, the advocacy strategies that created and sustained it, and the actors who interacted to either support or oppose its expansion. Equally, her analysis illustrates the critical importance of policy entrepreneurs, both inside and outside government, in the US policymaking process.


Alice Sardell is professor in the Department of Urban Studies at Queens College/CUNY. Her previous book is The U.S. Experiment in Social Medicine: The Community Health Center Program, 1965–1986.


  • Policy Frameworks and Children's Health.
  • The Emergence of the Child Health Advocacy Community.
  • Policy Legacies and Political Entrepreneurs: Enacting Children's Health Insurance.
  • Ideological Conflict over a "Bipartisan" Program.
  • Expanding the Program: Advocacy and Framing.
  • The State of Children's Health.