Sacramento
July 7, 2011

California advocacy organizations committed to improving children’s health reacted to negotiations among congressional leaders that could cut health care for children and families across the state and throughout the country. A new study released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research (link below) emphasizes how critical health coverage is for low-income families.

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, respectively, in California) are federal-state partnerships, with the federal government paying a different share of each initiative’s cost. As part of ongoing congressional budget negotiations, the Obama Administration is reportedly actively talking with Congressional leaders about a proposal that would “blend” the federal reimbursement rates in a way that would result in a net reduction in federal funding for California and other states. This would put the health care of 4.5 million children all over California at risk.

California Governor Jerry Brown sent the president a letter this week, calling the proposal “a blatant cost shift to states.” Leading congressional children’s champions from other states have also publicly expressed concern about the “blending” proposal and its impact on health care for children. California’s congressional representatives need to jointly work against this proposal to save access to health care for so many Californians.

In response, advocates sent a letter (attached) on July 1, urging the California congressional delegation to reject the blending proposal. On behalf of the group, Judy Darnell, Director of Public Policy for United Ways of California, issued the following statement:

“Governor Brown knows that shortchanging Medicaid and CHIP is bad for California’s budget and bad for children’s health. California congressional representatives who are serious about children’s health should insist that budget negotiators take this dangerous idea off the table and find a way to balance the federal budget without more harm being done to children, families, low-income seniors and the disabled. Risking the health of 4.5 million California children is no way to balance the budget.”

Links

Advocates’ July 1, 2011 letter to California Congressional delegation

Governor Brown’s June 27, 2011 letter to President Obama

NYT article: National Bureau of Economic Research study on benefits of Medicaid

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To speak to a children’s health advocate, please call one of the representatives below: 

Children Now
Ted Lempert, President – Contact Ronald Pineda at 510-763-2444 x119 to speak to Ted, or contact Ted directly at 510-763-2444 x155 or 650-245-8166
Kelly Hardy, Director, Health Policy – 510-763-2444 x126 or 510-220-4020

Children’s Defense Fund California
Deena Lahn, Policy Director – 415-279-4672

The Children’s Partnership
Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President – Contact Carrie Spencer at 310-260-1220 x12 to speak to Wendy or contact Wendy directly at 310-710-9830 
PICO California Project
Rebecca Stark, Associate Director – 916-402-5804

United Ways of California
Judy Darnell, Director of Public Policy – 831-246-3099

California Coverage & Health Initiatives
Suzie Shupe, Executive Director – 707-527-9213