North San Diego County Community Health Care Groups Urge Passage of Healthy Kids Bills
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) should sign into law two bills that would expand access to public health insurance programs for children under age 19, leaders of community health groups said on Tuesday in an interview with the North County Times (Conaughton, North County Times, 9/27).
One bill, AB 772, would raise the income eligibility guideline for state health insurance programs for children, allowing more children to enroll (California Healthline, 9/21). The bill would increase the maximum family income for Medi-Cal eligibility from 250% of the federal poverty level to 300% (North County Times, 9/27).
The other proposal, AB 1199, would create the California Healthy Kids Fund as a repository for public funds and private contributions (California Healthline, 9/21).
Schwarzenegger spokespersons said the governor has not taken a position on the bills, which have been approved by the Legislature. However, Schwarzenegger is "reportedly leaning toward vetoing the bills because they would require more state spending," according to the Times.
In the Times interview, representatives from Neighborhood Healthcare, the Vista Community Clinic, the Congregations for Civic Action and the Pacific Institute for Community Organization California urged Schwarzenegger to approve the bills and consider other programs to address the state budget deficit.
They said the bills would reduce health care spending in the long-run by increasing access to preventive care. Many children whose parents cannot afford preventive care end up in hospital emergency departments, which drives up health care costs, they said.
Schwarzenegger has until Oct. 9 to act on the bills (North County Times, 9/27).