Budget cuts are coming to Healthy Families kids health care program
Sacramento lawmakers hope to vote on a budget revision this week to close the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit. Whatever the outcome of that vote, advocates for children say the youngest Californians are sure to suffer from a lack of health care coverage. KPCC’s Julie Small reports.
Julie Small: On a recent morning, about 200 children rallied on the steps of the State Capitol to save the state’s Healthy Families program.
Westley Crary: I’m 11 years old and live in Riverside. I’m on Healthy Families, and so are my three brothers.
Small: Westley Crary said he and his brothers, ages 1, 4, and 9, would all lose the treatment they depend on if Governor Schwarzenegger gets his way and eliminates the state’s health insurance program for children and teens of low-income families.
Westley: Please do not cut Healthy Families. Thank you. [applause]
Small: The governor’s plan to eliminate Healthy Families would wipe out the health insurance policy for a million children in the state. Democrats have a less drastic plan. They’ve suggested cutting some of the program’s funding.
But child advocates say even that would deny coverage to half-a-million California kids. And they say the cuts couldn’t come at a worse time. Many families are losing their jobs and their health insurance. Enrollment in the state-funded Healthy Families program has increased 10 percent over last year.