Report Card: Health Care for California Kids Declined in 2008
Ratings for California's efforts in providing health care to children declined in 2008, in large part because of changes to Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, according to a report card the advocacy group Children Now is releasing today, the Ventura County Star reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families is its version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
According to the 2009 report, the state's grade dropped to a D+ in 2008 from C in 2007.
Children Now attributed the decline primarily to additional paperwork requirements for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and to premium increases for Healthy Families.
Moreover, the report projects that as many as one million California children could go without health insurance at some point this year.
Other Findings, Recommendations
The report card grades the state's performance in 12 policy areas. It awarded four B's, four C's and four D's to the state. The highest grade the state received was a B+ for after-school programs.
The report calls on lawmakers to adopt budget priorities that allow for "efficient investments in children" by:
- Enacting universal health coverage for children;
- Expanding after-school programs;
- Improving K-12 education; and
- Increasing spending on early childhood development.
Children Now President Ted Lempert acknowledged that the state budget deficit will limit legislative action, but he said that the state still can make progress on children's health care.
Lempert cited the possibility of increased federal funding for Medi-Cal and an expansion of SCHIP under the administration of President-elect Barack Obama (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 1/6).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.