Improving Public Coverage for Children: Lessons From CKF in Washington

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation



Case Study Sector


Only a handful of states have achieved near-universal health insurance coverage for children. Washington is among those states, in part because private insurance coverage has remained high in the state, but also due to strong political will and the presence of many advocates endorsing the expansion of public coverage to those still uninsured. Even with supportive policies in place, the need for advocacy remains, as Washington faces the fiscal impacts of a weakening economy, which can have repercussions for coverage policies. A historical review of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Covering Kids & Families (CKF) grant in Washington reveals that advocates for insurance coverage, working in concert with state officials, can positively impact public insurance policy and procedures. Washington’s CKF experience also validates the usefulness of the coalition model. Although the CKF project could not afford to maintain its staff after its grant ended, CKF coalition members have maintained the focus on coverage issues in the state by merging their efforts into a similarly focused coalition.



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