HEALTHY FAMILIES: Senator Urges Residents to Increase Awareness
Despite having the "the best health care in the world," 20% of Californians have no health insurance, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) states in a Fresno Bee column. Feinstein calls on all state residents "to make sure that eligible families enroll their children" in Healthy Families, a program established in 1998 "to help working families provide adequate health care for their children." The program was recently expanded to include families of four with incomes up to $41,600, allowing an additional 400,000 children to receive coverage. The expansion, however, has not attracted many new enrollees. Feinstein notes: "Of the more than 50,000 families in the Central Valley eligible for the program, less than half have signed up. That means that roughly 30,000 children in the region do not have access to doctors, dentists and immunizations, even though they are eligible." Feinstein notes that minority communities could especially benefit from Healthy Families: "[O]nly 48% of African-American children and 59% of Latino children have been fully immunized compared with 68% of Caucasian children." Feinstein argues that the program, which requires monthly premiums ranging from $4 to $9 per child and capped at $27 per family per month, "offers real and immediate help." The senator calls on families to enroll their children if they are eligible and to obtain information, available in 10 languages statewide at schools, doctors' offices, government sites and community clinics, on how to receive medical, dental and vision coverage for children whose parents' incomes exceed Medi-Cal limits. Feinstein concludes, "[T]he future of our state and our nation rests in our children -- a future dependent on their good health" (Feinstein, 7/12).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.