Santa Barbara County Mulls Kids’ Insurance Program
Santa Barbara County commissioners on Tuesday are scheduled to discuss a proposal to launch a program to provide health insurance coverage to children, the Lompoc Record reports. The county has the second-highest rate of uninsured children per capita among California counties, according to the California Health Insurance Survey.
County Supervisors Joe Centeno and Salud Carbajal are proposing that supervisors ask county staff to identify $1 million to launch a local Healthy Kids program.
Similar programs in other counties help enroll eligible uninsured children in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families and provide low-cost insurance coverage for children who are ineligible for those programs. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families is its version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program for low- and moderate-income children.
Centeno and Carbajal propose to increase the annual subsidy to the program by $1 million, eventually totaling about $7 million annually. At that point, Centeno and Carbal say the program could provide health insurance to about 5,000 children.
Of the approximately 16,000 uninsured children in Santa Barbara County, a report by Centeno and Carbajal estimates that 5,000 to 7,000 are not eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families.
But Deputy County Executive Officer Jim Laponis and some county supervisors foresee difficulties appropriating funds for the program because of potential budget deficits and competing interests for county funding (Schultz, Lompoc Record, 3/11).