Healthy Families Cuts Leave Nearly 3,000 Children a Day
Without Access to Health Coverage
Yesterday, California's Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) met to discuss how to deal with a $194 million shortfall in the Healthy Families Program. If the shortfall cannot be dealt with, more than 900,000 children will be denied health coverage. In less than two weeks, more than 33,000 children (nearly 3,000 a day) have already been put on a waiting list for Healthy Families. The impact to children in every California county is staggering; please click here for the details.
At the meeting, MRMIB staff presented several options for narrowing the shortfall, including reverting to February 2009 plan rates, increasing co-payments and premiums that families have to pay, and other options, any and all of which must be considered before disenrolling any children. While these alternatives are far from ideal, they are vastly preferable to denying children health coverage altogether, although any reduction to benefits or any increase to co-payments or premiums should be implemented as one-time-only changes.
Families and advocates attended the meeting to urge MRMIB to exempt the most vulnerable children from the existing enrollment freeze and any potential future disenrollments. We also urge MRMIB to adequately track and monitor children on the waitlist and refer them to all possible programs for which they may be eligible.
The possibility of disenrollments will be considered at the next Board meeting, in mid-August. For the latest information on Healthy Families, including board meeting minutes and agendas, please check the MRMIB website.
For the latest coverage of the illogical cuts to Healthy Families, please see:
This morning's special report from the California Healthline;
This morning's story in the Sacramento Bee; and
Wednesday's San Jose Mercury News editorial
TAKE ACTION NOW! Unless and until the Governor, Legislature, and private sources (such as First Five and health plans) provide the funds necessary to fully fund Healthy Families, too many children will go without health coverage. The Healthy Families enrollment freeze has already resulted in a waitlist of 33,146 children as of July 28 - meaning that nearly 3,000 children have been put on the waitlist each day since July 17.
Click here to write to your legislators and to legislative leadership.
Contact the Governor here.