Angelides Supports Universal Coverage for Children
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides on Monday said he would expand health insurance to all children in the state if elected and criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for not supporting a state budget proposal to expand Healthy Families, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Schwarzenegger recently has said he supports extending health insurance benefits to undocumented immigrant children but that the Democratic measure to expand Healthy Families would cost too much. The proposal has been eliminated from the budget and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) said he would introduce legislation addressing health care coverage for undocumented immigrant children.
Matt David, a spokesperson for Schwarzenegger, noted that since taking office the governor has "increased enrollment in Healthy Families by 11%, bringing the total number of eligible children enrolled to over 90%." Schwarzenegger also supports a separate measure in the proposed fiscal year 2006-2007 budget that would provide more money to county-run children's health programs.
Angelides said Santa Clara County's children's health initiative could serve as a model for using tobacco settlement money to provide health insurance for families who are ineligible for other public health programs. According to Angelides, insuring all California children would cost the state $130 million in the first year and about $300 million annually after that.
Angelides also said he would work "hand in hand" with Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) "to move toward universal [health care] coverage." A universal health care bill (SB 840) by Kuehl is pending in an Assembly committee (Garcia, San Jose Mercury News, 6/20).