HEALTHY FAMILIES: Lowering Income Restrictions Is ‘Enlightened’
Calling California's definition of poverty "unrealistic," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial today lauds a recent "enlightened decision" by the Clinton Administration to extend subsidized health insurance to children whose families earn 250% of the poverty level. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala's announcement last week that the government would lower the income restrictions for California's Healthy Families will "save money in the long run" by expanding eligibility to an additional 132,000 of the state's 1.7 million uninsured children, the editors write. They warn, however, that "simply making people eligible does not ensure that families will take advantage of the health insurance," as many working parents are scared off by "a burdensome application process" or are too proud to accept coverage because of the program's perceived association with welfare. The editorial concludes, "Expansion of the income levels under which children many receive government insurance is a positive step. At the same time, efforts to include people already eligible must be intensified" (11/29).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.