Big Five Proposed Budget is the Single Biggest Cut to Children's Health in History
Healthy Families Cuts Will Cause 785,000 Children to be Denied Access to Health Coverage
A statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California:"The proposed budget deal crafted by the Governor and the heads of the Assembly and Senate shows a colossal failure of leadership that constitutes an irresponsible and cruel blow to California's children's health. With budget cuts to the Healthy Families program expanding to $144 million, a total of 785,000 children are expected to be denied health coverage, resulting in the single largest health coverage cut to children in our nation's history.
"Make no mistake about it - this proposal will result in kids getting sicker and some will die. To reach $144 million in savings, Healthy Families would need to disenroll 450,000 children and bar 335,000 eligible children from enrolling - for a total of 785,000 affected children.
"The Governor and Legislative leaders will single handedly wipe out the gains that have been made nationwide to expand health coverage to children. While at least 13 states in this difficult economic period have expanded coverage and enabled 250,000 more children to have access to care, California is moving in the exact opposite direction that shamefully positions our state as a national disgrace to children's health coverage efforts.
"We are extremely disappointed the Big Five did not adopt other viable options to save this vital program. There are other alternatives that would create less suffering for our state's children, such as tapping other revenue sources, temporarily delaying health plan rate increases, reducing administrative vendor costs, or imposing modest, one-time premium increases.
"To move forward in passing the budget without considering all alternatives demonstrates seriously misplaced priorities and goes against these policymakers' previous commitments to preserve children's health coverage. If the Governor and Legislature continue to move forward on this reckless path, 785,000 kids will suffer the consequences as they go without health coverage."