UNINSURED CHILDREN: School-Based Efforts Crucial to Medi-Cal, Healthy Families Enrollment
Increased funding for public school efforts to educate families about Medi-Cal and Healthy Families could help boost the number of children enrolled in such programs, Michael McCauley, media director of Consumers Union's West Coast regional office, writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. McCauley laments the fact that about 1.48 million of California's 2 million uninsured children are eligible for either Healthy Families or Medi-Cal, yet "confusing eligibility requirements, concerns about how enrollment would effect immigration status, a complex application process and negative associations" prevent those children from receiving benefits. He argues that schools can play a role in erasing those barriers "by participating in education and information campaigns targeted to eligible children and their parents," a move which some schools have already made. But "schools remain an underutilized source," and many lack necessary funds and staff to perform extra outreach. To solve those problems, McCauley advocates approval of Assemblywoman Helen Thomson's (D-Davis) AB 1735, which would require state schools to send out information on Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, along with an application to the federally subsidized school lunch program. He also calls on lawmakers to allocate additional funds for expanded outreach measures and pilot programs to test other school-based strategies. Schools also should be given a financial incentive to distribute such information, McCauley says (6/1).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.