HEALTHY FAMILIES: Bee Says Ease Registration Barriers
An editorial in today's Sacramento Bee argues that "there is strong evidence" that "real barriers" are preventing an estimated 570,000 eligible children of California's working poor from enrolling in the state's Healthy Families program. The Bee suggests two reasons that families are not signing up their children. First, immigrant "parents fear that they would have to pay back the government the entire cost of their children's health insurance if they ever apply for citizenship, a scenario that is conceivable under certain readings of the law." Second, the application is "28 pages long and asks many ... needlessly probing questions on where legal immigrants came from." To resolve these problems, the Bee contends, the Immigration and Naturalization Service should make "crystal clear, in writing" that it will not require parents to repay the state for their children's insurance. In addition, the state should streamline the application. Noting that "the state agencies that oversee Healthy Families are meeting next month to review the application booklet," the Bee concludes, "now is the time to learn the lessons of this summer and make the appropriate changes so that many thousands more children in the months ahead" will receive health coverage (9/11). Click Healthy Families to read past coverage of the program's slow start enrolling eligible children.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.