Campaign Under Way To Expand Health Care Coverage for Children in Ventura County
Supporters of an effort to expand health care coverage to uninsured children in Ventura County through the Children's Health Initiative are continuing efforts to raise funds for the project, the Los Angeles Times reports. Statewide, 11 counties have implemented Children's Health Initiative programs, and 17 additional counties are in the process of establishing such programs.
The Children's Health Initiative works to enroll eligible children in government-sponsored programs, such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, and provide health coverage to uninsured children who are ineligible for those programs. As part of the effort, some counties have implemented locally funded Healthy Kids programs.
Some Healthy Kids programs expand coverage of medical, dental and vision services for children in families whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level and do not qualify for other government-sponsored health care programs. Some programs also provide coverage to children of working families at risk of losing employer-sponsored insurance.
Statewide, Healthy Kids programs have provided health care coverage to about 65,000 children. Late last year, advocates for children's health launched the "100% Campaign" to advocate for legislation that would extend the program to all counties by 2007.
In Ventura County, officials estimate that it would cost about $1,000 per child annually to provide health care coverage to about 5,000 children in the county who would receive health care coverage through a locally funded Healthy Kids program.
Supporters of the initiative said they will ask the county government to allocate funds for the program this summer and have the support of more than 300 individuals, civic groups and interfaith representatives. The campaign also will ask businesses, private foundations and other community sources to contribute to the program.
About 32,000 children in Ventura County are uninsured, but officials said that about half are eligible for Medi-Cal and another quarter could be covered by Healthy Families (Alvarez, Los Angeles Times, 2/21).