CONTRA COSTA: Official Asks Church Group To Reach Uninsured
Hoping to enlist the help of the Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee in spreading the word about available health insurance, County Health Director William Walker told group members Wednesday that as many as 11,000 children in the county unnecessarily go without insurance. The committee, an organization representing 32 churches in Contra Costa County, already campaigns for improving access to health care for low- income families. Walker told the group that many immigrants mistakenly assume that enrolling in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, the state's insurance program for children of low-income families, will decrease their chances of becoming naturalized citizens. He said, "There are many people who don't believe this. You have to help us get the word out." The substantial 26-page application had been another obstacle for immigrants wishing to participate in Healthy Families, but Walker noted that the application has been reduced to four pages. Enrollment in the program is particularly important, Walker said, because Congress is planning a similar program for adults based on the success of Healthy Families. However, Walker's appeal drew mixed responses from the crowd. Rev. Joe Gipson, of the Pittsburg United Methodist Church, said, "This doesn't necessarily sit well with us. When we ask the government for help, it turns around and asks us to do it" (Spears, Contra Costa Times, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.