Children’s Health Initiative Supporters Praise Program, Seek Help From State
The Children's Health Initiative has helped about 150,000 California children obtain health insurance, and the California Endowment and other supporters have asked the state to "complete the circle" and provide coverage for the almost 800,000 children who remain uninsured, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Since 2001, the Children's Health Initiative -- which provides health coverage to the children of undocumented immigrants and those in families with annual incomes that exceed Medi-Cal and Healthy Families eligibility requirements -- has enrolled about 75,000 children in the 10 counties that have implemented the program. In addition, the Children's Health Initiative has helped about 75,000 children enroll in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families.
Michael Bustamante, a consultant for the California Endowment, said, "While we've come a long way and continue to make progress, there's still too many kids without health care."
Last month, advocates rallied in Sacramento to support a bill (AB 772) that would expand health coverage to more children in low-income families (Corcoran, San Jose Mercury News, 6/10).
The state should "create its own group policy, one that includes healthy and sick patients, open to all residents," to address the issue of the uninsured, Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece.
Although health insurers seek to "cherry pick the healthiest patients, to not have to offer policies to sicker patients and to be able to get rid of individuals when they get sick," the state "should be able to ensure that all patients have access to affordable coverage and to require insurers to keep the sick as well as the healthy," Court writes. He adds that state should provide all residents with access to health plans currently offered to state employees and retirees to require health insurers to "compete with this state option" when they sell individual policies.
Court concludes that, without "a middle ground" on the issue of the uninsured, the "ranks of the seven million uninsured in California will rise" (Court, Los Angeles Times, 6/10).