Thursday, October 19, 2006

California Governor Signs Children's Health Insurance Legislation

California Health Insurance Legislation

Fresno, CA--Today, Governor Schwarzenegger took an important step toward ensuring that more of California's children get the health care they need by signing Senate Bill 437.

Authored by Senator Escutia and sponsored by the 100% Campaign (a collaboration of Children Now, Children's Defense Fund-CA, and The Children's Partnership) and the PICO California Project, this bill increases enrollment of children in California's Medi-Cal and Healthy Families Programs--by approximately 94,000--by making important and substantive improvements to the programs. "We applaud the Governor for his commitment to the health of California's children, our most vulnerable population," said Wendy Lazarus, founder and co-president, The Children's Partnership.

"Our collective next step to ensuring that all children have access to health coverage is the passage of Proposition 86 in November. Proposition 86 will provide on-going funding and the policy framework to allow all of California's uninsured children to have access to health coverage this year and in the future."

SB 437 makes improvements to Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, helping to increase enrollment for more uninsured children who already qualify for these programs, by simplifying the application and enrollment processes. SB 437 also helps children already enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families stay insured without experiencing gaps in coverage.

"The Legislature and now the Governor have taken important first steps to insure more of California's children," said Jim Keddy, director, PICO California Project. "We believe that Californians will now express their deep support for ensuring that all 800,000 uninsured children have access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance by voting yes on Proposition 86 on November 7th." "Comprehensive health insurance for children is cost-effective, and it provides access to early, less-costly preventive care and treatment," said Ted Lempert, president, Children Now. "Children with health insurance also perform better in school."

The public support for covering all children is widespread. Approximately 83 percent of California voters support a plan to "ensure that every child in California has health insurance," according to a recent statewide poll conducted by United Way of California.


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