Health Care Advocates Ask Schwarzenegger To Sign Bill To Expand Enrollment in Medi-Cal, Healthy Families
Health care advocates have asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to sign legislation by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) that seeks to streamline enrollment in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, but the advocates "are unlikely to get their wish," the Contra Costa Times reports (Rosen Lum, Contra Costa Times, 9/30).
AB 772 would raise the income eligibility guideline for state health insurance programs to allow more children to enroll (California Healthline, 9/21). The legislation also would allow the use of a single form to determine eligibility for subsidized school lunches and state health insurance programs.
In addition, the bill would make state health coverage available to undocumented immigrant children. The state would implement the legislation over three years. The bill would cost $10 million in 2006 and about $300 million annually after 2007.
Schwarzenegger spokesperson Nicole Evans Kasabian said that the governor considers AB 772 "not the right bill at the right time," in part because of the administrative structure of the legislation (Contra Costa Times, 9/30).
AB 772 "builds on the strengths of our existing system" and "would make it easier for children who are already eligible to enroll and stay enrolled in a health insurance program," Chan writes in a Times opinion piece. "What is most promising about this monumental goal is that covering all children is doable, realistic and within our reach," Chan writes (Chan, Contra Costa Times, 10/2).
"California Connected" -- a weekly, hourlong newsmagazine produced by PBS stations in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco that covers state events and issues -- on Friday, in the second of a three-part series on California children titled "Kids For Real," examined the 250,000 uninsured children in the state who do not qualify for state health insurance programs because their parents are undocumented immigrants.
The segment profiles the experience of Alex, a 10-year-old boy in the Central Valley who developed an ear infection and chronic allergies and whose family cannot afford to pay for his health care. The segment includes comments from a nurse at the school Alex attends and a physician who treated Alex and often treats children of undocumented immigrants (Shelley, "California Connected," KVIE, 9/30). Video of the segment in Quicktime media format is available online. An interview with the program's producer about the segment also is available online in Quicktime media format.
In addition, KQED's "The California Report" on Friday reported on the "California Connected" segment and AB 772. The segment includes comments from Chan and Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (Shelley, "The California Report," KQED, 9/30). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.