CHILDREN’S INSURANCE: CALIFORNIA KIDS FAIR POORLY
University of California-Los Angeles researchers released 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.
study Tuesday that found "[a]bout 90% of California's 1.6 million
uninsured children live in families with at least one working
parent, and 65% have parents who work full time." LOS ANGELES
TIMES reports that the researchers called the figures "shocking."
The study also found that "[o]ne in six children in California,
and one in four in Los Angeles County, lacks health insurance."
According to Children Now, an advocacy group, "[o]nly eight
states in the country have worse health insurance rates for
children." Fourteen percent of children in the U.S. are without
health insurance, while 17% of those in California and 25% of
those in Los Angeles County are uninsured.
NO COVERAGE: "Although the nation as a whole has seen a
long-term decline in job-based insurance, California's plight is
particularly grim, with a 'patchwork of limited coverage,'"
according to E. Richard Brown, a UCLA professor of public health
and senior author of the study. Brown noted that the state's
"heavy concentration of low-paying service and retail jobs, which
often do not offer insurance," is one reason for the low rate of
insurance. TIMES reports that Children Now is sponsoring two
bills "to expand Medi-Cal eligibility for children, streamline
the Medi-Cal application process and improve outreach." In
addition, a "range of other groups," including the California
Small Business Association and the California Medical
Association, "is backing the legislative efforts." Children Now
President Lois Salisbury said, "The big news for us is not only
the size of the problem, but the affordability of a solution."
TIMES reports that the Wilson administration "has not taken a
position on the two bills." Kathryn Lowell, an assistant
secretary at the state Health and Welfare Agency, said Gov. Pete
Wilson (R) "views these (Children Now and UCLA) reports as very
helpful" (Marquis, 3/19).