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Milbank Q. 1998;76(2):175-205.

The politics of EPSDT policy in the 1990s: policy entrepreneurs, political streams, and children's health benefits.

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Queens College, City University of New York, USA.


The Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program, which was designed to ensure that Medicaid-eligible children receive comprehensive health services, is the only national attempt to provide a right to these services. The political factors that have shaped national EPSDT policy during the past decade are described, based on a conceptual framework developed by John W. Kingdon. The analysis focuses on the roles of two distinct sets of policy entrepreneurs: child health advocates and fiscally conservative governors. Their activities are described in relation to the larger political environment, or "political stream," from the period of the expansion of Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and children in the late 1980s to the enactment of a new State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997. The relative saliency of eligibility and benefit issues in children's health policies had a major influence on the politics and outcomes.

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