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|For Immediate Release
January 5, 2012
|For More Information Contact:
Isobel White, (415) 225-8597
SACRAMENTO, CA – In response to Governor Brown’s release of his 2012-13 budget proposal, a coalition of leading children’s health advocates in California expressed concern about the scope of proposed cuts and fundamental changes to children’s health care, and fear that such a proposal could significantly jeopardize access to health care for California children.
The Governor’s budget proposes a nearly 26 percent reduction in the rates paid to managed care plans that serve children enrolled in the Healthy Families Program; an expansion of managed care for children in rural counties; and the wholesale transition of all 875,000 children in Healthy Families into Medi-Cal beginning in October 2012.
“These are the most dramatic changes in children’s health care since the creation of California’s Healthy Families Program,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children's Partnership, “and the most significant challenge in providing health care for kids has been ensuring that children have timely access to quality care.
Jamila Edwards, Northern California Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California added, “The proposal to reduce the Healthy Families rates threatens to exacerbate problems accessing care that children and their parents face. Problems accessing care means that kids are less likely to get the preventative care and other services that are crucial to healthy development.”
“At a time when California’s children and families are already struggling as a result of the economic downturn, we shouldn’t be making it harder for kids to get the health care services they need to grow up healthy,” said Corey Timpson, Director of PICO California. “The rates and costs of obesity, asthma and diabetes are skyrocketing and childhood is the time these diseases begin. We simply cannot afford to roll back our commitment to children’s health.”
Children’s health advocates cautioned that substantive safeguards are necessary and a thoughtful planning process would be required before these changes take place. “Any transition of Healthy Families children into Medi-Cal must prioritize the needs of children, including implementing protections to ensure that children have adequate and timely access to quality primary and specialty care,” said Ted Lempert, President of Children Now. “Without a thoughtful plan and strong safeguards, we risk making California kids worse off than they are today.”
The 100 Percent Campaign and PICO California will remain vigilant in being the voice for California’s children, whom cannot speak for themselves. We are dedicated to working with stakeholders in Sacramento, to ensure policymakers understand the importance of thoughtful discussions regarding the impact of the Governor’s budget proposals will have on the children of this State.
The 100% Campaign, a collaborative effort of The Children’s Partnership, Children Now and Children's Defense Fund-California since 1998, was created to ensure that all of California’s children obtain the health insurance they need to grow up strong and healthy. www.100percentcampaign.org
The Children's Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children - especially those at risk of being left behind - have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives. TCP focuses particular attention on securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families.
Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children's well-being to the top of the state and national policy agenda. Children Now focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children.
Children's Defense Fund-California is the California office of the Children's Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for nearly 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, a quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.
PICO California is the largest grassroots congregation-based community organizing network in California. Nineteen local California PICO federations organize in 73 cities and 35 school districts, reaching from Placer to San Diego County. Together, PICO federations represent 450,000 families of diverse economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds across the state. PICO California is part of the PICO National Network, which includes organizations in 16 states. www.picocalifornia.org