President Obama Signs Critical Health Coverage Bill for California Children
Los Angeles, CA
February 4, 2009
United Ways of California today lauded President Obama’s signing of a bill reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. The bill, which was reauthorized for four and a half years, provides critical healthcare for 11 million children nationwide, including nearly one million children in California. United Ways of California has been advocating for SCHIP reauthorization since 2007.“With his signature today, President Obama has ensured that 900,000 children will continue to have access to the healthcare they need,” said Peter Manzo, president & CEO of United Ways of California. “This comes at a critical time for California’s children as the economy takes its toll on our state’s families and more find themselves without healthcare.”
SCHIP is the primary funding source for California’s Healthy Families program, which provides low-cost health insurance coverage to more than 900,000 California children. The program is critical for children whose parents work, but can’t afford private insurance. With the economic downturn, more families are losing employer-based coverage for their children, resulting in record enrollment in Healthy Families.
The bill signed by President Obama not only allows children who currently receive health coverage through SCHIP programs like Healthy Families to continue to do so, but it also gives states the ability to provide health coverage to more children who need it. California receives $2 from the federal government for every $1 it puts into Healthy Families, making it an extremely cost-effective way for California to provide health coverage to children.
While SCHIP reauthorization is widely praised by United Ways throughout the state, Manzo cautioned that nearly 700,000 children remain uninsured in our state and the work on children’s health is not over.
“SCHIP reauthorization certainly shows that Congress and the new president are willing to do what is right for the health of our children,” continued Manzo. “It is now up to our Governor and State Legislature to make sure we are poised to make the most of the federal dollars coming into our state and to continue to do what it takes to ensure all children have access to healthcare.”