California Budget Deal Gambles with Children’s Health
June 27, 2012
SACRAMENTO, CA – A coalition of leading children’s health advocates expressed outrage with the budget passed today by the Legislature, which jeopardizes access to health care for California children. This budget will eliminate the Healthy Families Program and shift nearly 900,000 children
“With this short-sighted decision, the Administration and Legislature are experimenting with the health of 900,000 children,” said Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways of California. “Eliminating California's popular and successful Healthy Families Program is risky. The concerns
about this proposal expressed by legislators today necessitate instituting a strong oversight mechanism to make sure there actually is a doctor available before each child is transitioned.”
“The Administration and Legislature say that this move will save $13 million in the budget year – but that’s only part of the math,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership. “The deal risks a managed care plan assessment expected to bring in $183 million in revenues. More importantly, it endangers the health of nearly 900,000 children since many will have to find a doctor in a Medi-Cal program with little time to get prepared for so many new kids.”
“For those of us in the faith community, our values teach us that a basic goal of government is to ensure that all people have access to basic health care, and this budget deal fails that test,” said Corey Timpson, Executive Director of PICO California. “We are grieved by this decision and the
effect it will have on our children, families and communities.”
The budget deal to eliminate the Healthy Families Program comes in spite of a steady and vocal outpouring of opposition from a broad coalition of pediatricians, other doctors, clinics, business leaders, consumer advocates, and community and faith organizations. A coalition of more than 70
organizations recently sent a letter to policymakers demanding that Healthy Families be spared. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Legislative Republican Caucus, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (the original author of the program) also expressed grave concerns
about the elimination of the Healthy Families Program.
“It is absolutely critical that the state significantly improve access to services in Medi-Cal so that the program is able to serve both the children currently in Medi-Cal, and those children who will be transitioning from Healthy Families,” said Jamila Iris Edwards, Northern California Director of
Children’s Defense Fund-California. “Medi-Cal offers a great array of benefits, but if even one child loses access to the medical care they need, we all lose.”
“Legislative leaders have promised to watch the transition of these children like hawks,” said Ted Lempert, President of Children Now. “Our coalition, in turn, we’ll be following the whole process with an eagle’s eye, digging through the details like gophers, and raising the alarm like watchdogs if we
see disruptions in children’s access to health or dental care.”
“We call on the Legislature to immediately convene a Select Committee to ensure that substantive safeguards, vigilant oversight, and detailed monitoring of access to care is ongoing so that children’s health is not compromised during their transition to the Medi-Cal program,” added Suzie Shupe, Executive Director of California Coverage & Health Initiatives.
The 100% Campaign, a collaborative effort of The Children’s Partnership, Children Now and Children's Defense Fund-California since 1998 was created to ensure that all of California’s children obtain the health insurance they need to grow up strong and healthy. www.100percentcampaign.org.
The Children's Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children - especially those at risk of being left behind - have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives. TCP focuses particular attention on securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families.
Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children's well-being to the top of the state and national policy agenda. Children Now focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children.
Children's Defense Fund-California is the California office of the Children's Defense Fund, a nonprofit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, a quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.
PICO California is the largest grassroots congregation-based community organizing network in California. Nineteen local California PICO federations organize in 73 cities and 35 school districts, reaching from Placer to San Diego County. Together, PICO federations represent 450,000 families of diverse economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds across the state.PICO California is part of the PICO National Network, which includes organizations in 16 states. www.picocalifornia.org.
California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI) is an association of local Children's Health Initiatives (CHIs) in 24 California counties, 17 Outreach & Enrollment partners and contacts in 54 of 58 California counties covering the geographic area where 95% of the state’s population resides. Members of CCHI have insured more than 167,000 previously uninsured children in locally-funded Healthy Kids programs. CCHI members and partners have an extensive network of Certified Application Assistants, Promotoras, and health outreach workers. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, as well as administering local Healthy Kids programs, the members of CCHI
have shown that coverage for all children in California is a reachable goal. www.cchi4families.org.
United Ways of California (UWCA) is the state association for California’s local United Ways. UWCA works to improve the health, education and financial stability for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California’s United Ways. UWCA is a strong advocate of expanding health coverage to all California children and their families. United Ways work closely with local community and business leaders, state and federal legislators, and volunteers to promote these is achievable and important goal. www.unitedwaysca.org.
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 Mike Odeh, Senior Health Policy Associate – 510-763-2444 x122
|The Children’s Partnership
Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President – Contact Carrie Spencer at 310-260-1220 to speak to Wendy, or contact Wendy directly at 310-710-9830
|Children’s Defense Fund California
Jamila Edwards, Northern California Director
|PICO California Project
Jessica Rothaar, Lead Health Care Campaign Organizer
|California Coverage & Health Initiatives
Suzie Shupe, Executive Director – 707-527-9213
|United Ways of California
Judy Darnell, Director of Public Policy