Children’s Health Program Enrollment Slowed
Children's health insurance programs grew faster under former Gov. Gray Davis (D) than under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), according to data compiled by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Children's enrollment in Medi-Cal has "slowed dramatically" under Schwarzenegger, the Bee reports. Enrollment in Healthy Families increased by 57,278 children during Schwarzenegger's first two years in office. During Davis' tenure, the program's enrollment increased to 684,039 in five years.
Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim Belshé said the Healthy Families program enrollment increased so drastically under Davis because there was high demand for the new program. She added that Medi-Cal enrollment has slowed because the state's economy has improved under Schwarzenegger and that more children are receiving benefits from their parents' employers or public programs that have a higher income thresholds.
Schwarzenegger administration officials say outreach funding and staffing levels have been restored as the state's financial situation has improved. Schwarzenegger is focusing outreach efforts on residents who have limited English proficiency because the "majority of kids who are eligible [for state programs] but are unenrolled are Latinos," Belshé said.
According to Belshé, county Children's Health Initiative programs have been the most successful in reaching that population, but Schwarzenegger's funding proposal for the program was eliminated from the budget because of Republicans opposition (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 7/3).