HEALTHY FAMILIES: One-Year Anniversary Marked by Calls for Greater Enrollment
California First Lady Sharon Davis yesterday joined state health officials, school representatives, and community and corporate partners to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Healthy Families Program. While she touted the state's success in signing up 144,669 eligible children thus far, she called on officials to see that all 460,000+ eligible children are enrolled. She said, "Healthy Families has benefitted thousands of uninsured children in California by providing health care services critical to their physical and educational development. The governor and I are proud of the program's accomplishments and we will continue to ensure that the Healthy Families Program reaches every eligible child in the state" (Davis release, 7/22). Mrs. Davis emphasized that next year's budget includes an additional $213 million for the program, which increased eligibility for the program from 328,000 to more than 460,000. Included in that figure is $6 million "for a multilingual advertising campaign that will promote the program and specifically address new immigrants' concerns" -- a provision designed to address complaints that the program has not been marketed to the poor or to new legal immigrants, some of whom have feared that enrollment would adversely affect their immigration or naturalization status (Isackson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/23). Mrs. Davis said, "The challenge is to reach parents who think it is too good to be true. The first ones that you get are always the easiest families. Then it gets more difficult to get into the community." State HHS Secretary Grantland Johnson said, "We think that this is a very important effort and that every section of the community ought to be involved" (Day, Sacramento Bee, 7/23).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.