CALIFORNIA: DEAL REACHED ON KIDDIECARE PROGRAM
"Key state lawmakers and the Wilson administration reached aThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
compromise yesterday that would extend health insurance coverage
to nearly 600,000 low-income children throughout California," San
Francisco Chronicle reports.
The move "paves the way for the largest expansion of government-
sponsored heath care benefits since the creation of Medi-Cal in
1965." The California Children's Health Plan would begin
offering coverage on July 1. About 580,000 low-income children
would be eligible for the program. In addition, Medi-Cal
enrollment would be expanded.
The new program "would provide comprehensive benefits to
children in families making between $13,000 and $26,000 a year."
According to a proposal released last month by the Wilson
administration, it would be funded "by a mix of $311 million in
federal money and $167.5 million in state funds." It is unclear
how much the program will cost under the compromise reached with
the legislature. Premiums for the program will be "$4 per child
per month, or $8 per month for families with two or more children
-- if those families sign up with health care plans set up by
county public health hospitals and clinics." For those who
choose to enroll in private health plans, the premiums will be $7
per child and $18 per family. There will be an additional
premium discount for families that pay up to three months in
advance. The plan will cap families' annual premium
contributions at $100 and out-of-pocket expenses for doctor
visits at $250.
Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa (D) said that the joint committee
that crafted the compromise could approve the bill as early as
today and that "the measure will eventually reach" the governor's
desk. Wilson's press secretary said the measure is "heading in
the right direction." However, "Assembly Republicans may oppose
the measure" over the Medi-Cal expansion and "questions about
whether the new program will pay for abortions"