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Waiting on Health Care Reform, Counties Struggle To Fund Kids’ Health Programs

In a California Healthline Special Report, Wendy Lazarus — co-founder and president of the Children’s Partnership — and Janie Tyre — vice president for external affairs with the Santa Clara Family Health Plan — discussed funding shortfalls facing California’s Children’s Health Initiatives.

CHIs are county-run programs designed to fill gaps left by state and federally funded children’s health insurance programs and help more parents sign their children up for coverage.

CHIs in some ways have become victims of their own success, Tyre and Lazarus said. More than half of California counties have launched CHIs, and public and private funding streams are stretched increasingly thin.

Lazarus said state and federal health care reform to expand health insurance to children cannot come soon enough, adding that 2008 or 2009 could be too late.

“These programs cannot continue to plug the dike for kids for very much longer,” she said (Kennedy, California Healthline, 9/17).

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