SAN JOSE: Groups Want Tobacco Settlement Used for Uninsured Kids
San Jose could become the first city in the nation to provide health insurance to every child if a plan proposed by some community groups is approved, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Under the plan, city and Santa Clara County officials would allocate $2 million each from their portion of the tobacco settlement to provide comprehensive health insurance to the city's 36,692 uninsured children. Drafted by South Bay Labor Council-affiliate Working Partnerships and the church-coalition People Acting in Community Together, the plan would set a national precedent. "As far as we can tell, this would make San Jose the first city in the country to make this kind of commitment," Bob Brownstein, policy director for Working Partnerships, said, adding, "This would make a telling counter-argument to those who say that Silicon Valley has no heart." The plan would require an initial cost of $1.8 million and carry a subsequent $6 million annual price tag. The decision to use funds from the tobacco settlement came after six of 10 council members voted in favor of the children's health initiative. "This could just be wonderful to be the first in the nation to provide coverage for 100% of all our children," council member Margie Matthews said. "The benefits of this would be enormous, and if we do it, there's a good chance others will follow suit," she added (Gaura, 5/31).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.