Immigration Debate Affects Potential Children’s Health Coverage Expansion
The nationwide debate over undocumented immigration is affecting efforts to expand government-sponsored health insurance coverage for all children in California, according to KQED's "The California Report" (Khokha/Myers, "The California Report," KQED, 8/23).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is looking to restore funding for Healthy Kids programs that was cut during budget negotiations (California Healthline, 8/7).
Democrats removed from the fiscal year 2006-2007 state budget two proposals to fund children's health insurance programs after Republicans said they would not support a budget that would extend health benefits to undocumented children. One of the measures would have provided $23 million to eliminate waiting lists for Healthy Kids programs in 18 counties. A separate proposal would have expanded eligibility for Healthy Families and was estimated to cost $300 million in 2008, mainly for services to undocumented immigrants (California Healthline, 7/6).
According to KQED, the more than 13,000 children in the 18 counties offering additional health insurance are "likely to stay" on a waiting lists for coverage under Healthy Kids programs.
The KQED segment includes comments from:
- Susan Anderson, Fresno County supervisor;
- Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), chair of the Senate Health Committee;
- Assembly Minority Leader George Plescia (R-San Diego);
- Outreach workers for state social service programs; and
- Undocumented workers and legal residents in California who receive health insurance coverage for their children through state programs ("The California Report," KQED, 8/23).