United Ways of CA Joins Gov. Schwarzenegger in Urging Congress to Increase Federal Share of Medi-Cal
Say funds are needed to help maintain essential healthcare for the 3 million children covered by Medi-Cal and to avoid further painful cuts to kids’ healthcare.
Los Angeles, CA
December 2, 2008
Today, United Ways of California joined Governor Schwarzenegger in calling on Congress to increase California’s federal share of Medi-Cal dollars to help keep the program afloat and keep children insured.
California’s Medi-Cal program has seen increased enrollment as a result of the economic crisis impacting so many families, and passing a temporary increase in the Federal Medi-Cal Assistance Percentage (FMAP) would help reduce the strain of increased enrollment and prevent painful cuts that will jeopardize the health of California children. But, it will be up to California’s legislature and Governor to ensure some of these funds go toward children’s health coverage.
“Three million children statewide depend upon MediCal for their health coverage, but funding for kids health is at risk due to California’s budget crisis and the economic downturn” said Peter Manzo, president and CEO of United Ways of California. “Congress should act quickly to increase California’s federal Medi-Cal dollars and our state leaders should allocate some of these funds to providing health coverage for our state’s vulnerable children.”
California currently receives 50 cents on the dollar for our Medi-Cal program, and a temporary increase would help reduce the financial strain facing the Medi-Cal system and help tens of thousands of children keep their health coverage. Instead of insuring more children in California, there are now more children losing insurance every day as a result of budget cuts and loss of employer-based coverage.
The pending federal stimulus plan couldn’t come at a more critical time for our kids as the children’s health safety net is unraveling. Healthy Families Program, which insures children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal but not enough to buy insurance on the private market, is poised to institute its first waitlist ever for new enrollments in December. This action comes on the heels of a disastrous 2008-2009 budget year for kids’ health.
Manzo further said, “We really are standing on the precipice of a children’s health coverage disaster. By 2010, more than 400,000 children could lose access to health coverage. Congress, our legislature and governor need to take bold steps to protect the health of our children.”