Santa Clara County Children’s Universal Coverage Program Receives Technical Grant
The David and Lucille Packard Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to Santa Clara County's Children's Health Initiative the nation's first universal health insurance plan for children, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Under the initiative, Santa Clara County children up to age 18 can enroll in one of three comprehensive health insurance plans; in "some" cases, enrollees pay "small premiums and copayments" based on an income-related sliding scale. According to Linda Baker, Packard Foundation program officer, the purpose of the grant is "largely technical," with the funds going to finance "expert consultants" and performance outcome measurements. Santa Clara County officials believe that the analysis performed under this grant will enable them to "create a model [program] for the rest of the country." The grant will be administered through the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Health Policy Solutions, which will link technical consulting groups with the initiative. Since the $14 million-per-year initiative took effect earlier this year, nearly 8,000 of the county's 71,000 uninsured children have signed up for one of the three available insurance plans -- "far exceed[ing]" the program's six-month goals. Because of Santa Clara's success, other California counties, including San Diego and San Francisco, are considering similar initiatives (Guido, San Jose Mercury News, 4/12).