Davis Unveils Program Linking Children’s Health Insurance Registration to School Lunch Program
Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday launched the Express Lane Eligibility program, an initiative that will allow low-income parents to register their children for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families when they sign up for the National School Lunch Program, the San Jose Mercury News reports (McPherson, San Jose Mercury News, 6/6). Davis said the ELE program would allow parents whose children are enrolled in the free lunch program the option of allowing their information to be used to expedite their child's enrollment in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, depending on family income, rather than completing a separate insurance application (Davis release, 6/5). Because approximately 70% of California's roughly one million uninsured children -- of whom more than 650,000 are eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families -- are enrolled in the free school lunch program, Davis said the program is a "natural place" to give families information about the public health programs. The program will be tested in five school districts beginning July 1. The Redwood City School District received more than $250,000 from the California Endowment to implement the program in 16 schools and six child development centers; the endowment also donated a total of $1.6 million to fund pilot programs in San Diego, Fresno and Los Angeles counties. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Consumers Union's Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools project are helping to fund ELE in San Jose's Alum Rock Union Elementary School District. Davis dedicated $3.5 million for the program in his revised budget proposal (San Jose Mercury News, 6/6).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.