As a House-approved bill that would extend authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years awaits Senate consideration, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a mandated evaluation of the program.

Among the GAO’s findings, it concluded that children enrolled in the program

… (1) had substantially better access to care, service use, and preventive care when compared with uninsured children; and (2) experienced comparable access and service use when compared with privately insured children.

gaoIt also found that nearly all children between the age of one and two enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid made at least one visit to a primary care physician in 2013; that the program’s costs for families were almost always less than states’ benchmark plans established under the Affordable Care Act; and that its benefits were generally comparable to those offered by benchmark plans.

For a closer look at the GAO report Children’s Health Insurance Program: Effects on Coverage and Access, and Considerations for Extending Fund, find links to a summary and the full report here, on the GAO web site.