HEALTHY FAMILIES: Critics Say New Program Is Riddled With Problems
As the state gets set to introduce its Healthy Families program next month, the San Diego Union-Tribune describes the "layers of confusion and restrictions" surrounding the new children's health care program. Critics call the program "badly planned" and say the problem lies with the state's failure "to use even half the federal money available, while imposing fees and income limitations that will exclude many uninsured families." Health Policy analyst Patricia Freeman said the state is missing a "critical opportunity to expand health care for children." Problems with the program could cause headaches for families, doctors and lawmakers, critics say. Families are having a hard time determining whether they qualify. The program does not allow families to include deductions for child care and work-related expenses in calculating their income, a provision that Medi-Cal allows. Doctors are wary because the program may not cover vaccines, leaving them with the financial burden. And legislators are still wrestling with policies that would change the qualifying income level for families to enter the program. "We're really excited about this program, but there are so many unresolved issues at this point," said Linda Cory Allen, attorney for Community Health Group. "All the plans are scrambling to get everything ready." Healthy Families will begin enrolling members July 1 (Duerksen, 6/12). Click here to read recent California Healthline stories on the Healthy Families Program. Or click here to find stories in our searchable database.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.