The stigma of public programs: Does a separate S-CHIP program reduce it?



Previous studies suggest access to and satisfaction with care may be different for enrollees in S-CHIP and Medicaid, but it is unclear whether those differences are fully explained by socioeconomic characteristics of the enrollees. We analyze access and satisfaction of three groups of children: Medicaid enrolled, S-CHIP enrolled, and children who are income eligible for Medicaid but carry a card similar to the state's S-CHIP children's card. Both enrollees and providers may believe that these children are enrolled in S-CHIP despite the fact that reimbursement is through the state's Medicaid system. Results indicate that the same network of providers treat, or are perceived by families to treat, the three groups differently. They support the notion that some of the differences in satisfaction between S-CHIP and Medicaid enrollees are related to unmeasured characteristics (for example, income) of the families in the different programs, but that programmatic identity contributes substantially to differential care experience. © 2007 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management