Millions of California Children Benefit from Affordable Care Act

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Isobel White, (510) 828-3554

Children’s Health Advocates Celebrate 2nd Anniversary of Health Care Law

OAKLAND, CA – As the 2nd anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) nears on March 23rd, leading children’s health advocates in California are celebrating the gains already made in children’s health coverage – and looking forward to more.

"Millions of California children benefit from game-changing provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have already been implemented in California,” said Jamila Edwards, Northern California Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California. “We want parents to know these benefits are available and easy to access.”

A “Top 11” list of the ACA’s benefits for California’s children is available at These benefits include:

  • No-cost preventive care for children. Families are no longer charged a co-pay for preventive services such as well-child visits, immunizations, and developmental screenings. Helps over 1.6 million California children.
  • Young adults can now stay insured until age 26. Young adults can now remain on their parents’ employer-sponsored coverage as dependents until age 26. Helps over 350,000 California young adults.
  • No more discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. Children under age 19 who have a pre-existing health condition, like asthma or diabetes, can no longer be denied coverage by insurance companies. Helps nearly 600,000 California children.
  • Protection of health coverage programs for low-income children. Health coverage provided to California children through Medi-Cal and Healthy Families is now protected from eligibility rollbacks or significant premium increases. Helps over 4.5 million California children.
  • Prevents insurance plans from placing limits on health coverage. Insurance companies are now prohibited from placing restrictive annual or lifetime caps on coverage and from rescinding coverage when a person becomes sick. Helps more than 3.2 million California children.

“Moreover, the Affordable Care Act prioritizes the health of all of our children,” added Ted Lempert, President of Children Now, “by supporting nearly two dozen new local early childhood health and development programs throughout the state, investing in over 30 California school-based health centers, and providing the opportunity to ensure a health home for every California child.”

“I know first hand that the Affordable Care Act is an important step in making sure kids get the health care they need,” said Oakland pediatrician Oriaku Kas-Osoka, MD. “I feel privileged to be working in this field during such great change. The Affordable Care Act invests in preventative care, which means that we can address children’s health problems at an earlier stage, avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits.”

Among the many families who have already benefited from the ACA is the Lance family of Trinity County. Six-year old Dylan, who has a congenital heart defect, had been denied insurance coverage in the past, and his mother Jennifer was concerned that her son would be without health insurance when she lost her employer-sponsored coverage. "Before President Obama signed the health care reform law, we had a lot of anxiety related to health insurance for our son and we were forced to make some hard choices,” she said. “We were afraid to leave our son uninsured. I’m glad we were able to get him covered.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the challenge to the law’s constitutionality from March 26 - 28.

“It is ironic on this 2nd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act that the forward-moving momentum of the ACA could be halted by the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership. “The Affordable Care Act has made possible our dream of expanding affordable coverage to more Californians. Millions of children are already benefiting from health care reform, and many more will benefit once the ACA is fully implemented in 2014. It would be a travesty if the full potential of the ACA is not realized for children and families.”

“Another important benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that it protects care for the roughly 4.5 million low-income children currently enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families in our state,” said Corey Timpson, Executive Director of PICO California. “But hundreds of thousands more uninsured children can still be enrolled, today. Families can apply online at or by calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW.”


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.

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.

California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI) is an association of local Children's Health Initiatives (CHIs) in 24 California counties, 17 Outreach & Enrollment partners and contacts in 54 of 58 California counties covering the geographic area where 95% of the state’s population resides. Members of CCHI have insured more than 167,000 previously uninsured children in locally-funded Healthy Kids programs. CCHI members and partners have an extensive network of Certified Application Assistants, Promotoras, and health outreach workers. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, as well as administering local Healthy Kids programs, the members of CCHI have shown that coverage for all children in California is a reachable goal.