HEALTHY FAMILIES: Davis Will Request Waiver To Expand Program To Parents
Gov. Gray Davis (D) announced yesterday that he will ask the federal government to grant the state a waiver to extend the Healthy Families programs to cover 600,000 working parents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The program currently provides coverage to 330,000 children, but without the waiver, the state will forfeit $590 million in federal funds at the end of this month. The waiver would allow California to cover the working parents of the 330,000 children already assisted by Healthy Families, an option announced by the federal government in July. California would have to contribute 35% of the funds needed to expand the program, but Davis did not say for certain whether this money would be included in next year's budget. He said he will request the waiver "at the earliest opportunity," but regarding the budget, he said, "We have to see when we get the waiver" (Gledhill, 9/7). The state appeared in jeopardy of losing the $590 million after a bill sponsored by state Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Commerce) that would have used a portion of the state's tobacco settlement money to expand Healthy Families "died last week on the last night of the legislative session." Two bills were passed, however, that make California eligible for the waiver and allow Healthy Families to cover adults should the waiver be approved (AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/7). California legislators praised the governor's decision, as Assembly member Martin Gallegos (D-Baldwin Park) called it "a big step towards dealing with the huge uninsured problem in California" (Morain/Bustillo, Los Angeles Times, 9/7).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.