OUTREACH: Major Effort for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families Slated
Now that the federal government has clarified that immigrants who use the state's Medi-Cal or Healthy Families programs will not be subject to deportation or "public charge" status that would negatively impact their chance for citizenship, "officials and heath advocates are gearing up for a massive publicity campaign to spur enrollment" in the programs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Rodolfo Diaz, executive director of the Community Health Foundation of East Los Angeles, said, "In the last few years, immigrants have been educated that government- sponsored health benefits aren't for them. Now we have to convince them otherwise." Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles), estimating that some 500,000 children in the state are eligible for Healthy Families, said, "We're going to do whatever we can to get the word out." Details on the outreach plan are expected to be released later this week, but the Times notes that a "state blueprint produced last month envisioned a multi-pronged campaign including community forums, mailers, radio and TV ads, and a 24-hour hotline (McDonnell, 5/31).
It's About Time
A San Jose Mercury News editorial praises the Clinton administration's move to clarify the "public charge" issue, noting that "[w]hile many families will benefit, Hispanic families are likely to benefit the most, as studies indicated they are especially prone to lack of health insurance" (5/31).