Governor’s budget doesn’t go far enough to ensure children’s health

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2014
For More Information Contact:
Isobel White, (510) 828-3554 Kathleen Hamilton, (916) 706-2917

On behalf of a coalition of leading children’s health advocates in California, Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership issued the following statement in response to Governor Brown’s 2014-15 budget proposal:

“While Governor Brown’s budget proposal makes some small steps in the right direction, it does not go far enough to repair cuts made to health services for children and families over the past several years.

While the Governor’s proposed budget reverses retroactive provider reimbursement reductions, it fails to restore the current 10 percent rate cut. Adequate reimbursement rates are necessary in order to bolster doctor and dentist participation in the Medi-Cal program, which provides health care to almost half of California’s children. The Health & Human Services Agency has acknowledged that it is required to conduct on-going access assessments to ensure that enrollees are actually able to obtain care. We are hopeful that the budget deliberation process will provide an opportunity to re-examine the reimbursement rate levels necessary to assure fair and successful access to care for families.

California’s Medi-Cal provider payments are already among the lowest in the country. As the state implements the Affordable Care Act, we must make the promise of health reform real for California families by ensuring there are enough Medi-Cal doctors and dentists to serve children in a timely manner.

The Governor has taken an important first step by budgeting $17.5 million for improved outreach for dental services for young children in Medi-Cal, but the state must also look at strengthening access to care and adequate providers. A pediatric vision services outreach effort is also contemplated in the budget proposal, but details are not yet available.

We are disappointed that the Governor’s proposed budget misses the opportunity to restore critical, effective public health prevention programs for children that were eliminated during the recession, including programs to serve high-risk infants and provide preventive dental and mental health services (e.g. Black Infant Health Program, California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program, and Early Mental Health Initiative). Investments in prevention improve the health of our community and avoid more expensive future health costs. The Governor’s budget also fails to supplement the basic health care safety net that provides care for children who remain uninsured.”


Children Now
Ted Lempert, President  
510-763-2444 x155 or 650-245-8166

The Children’s Partnership
Kathleen Hamilton, Director, Sacramento Governmental Affairs

Children’s Defense Fund California
Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, Policy and Communications Associate

PICO California
Corey Timpson, PICO California, Director

California Coverage & Health Initiatives
Suzie Shupe, Executive Director
707-527-9213 or 707-292-3932

United Ways of California
Judy Darnell, Director of Public Policy


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 (CDF-CA) is the California office of the Children's Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 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), a leader in health advocacy for children and families, is a statewide association of outreach and enrollment organizations that are focused on helping children and families navigate into affordable health coverage and have access to high quality health care and other services. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal, 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.

United Ways of California (UWCA) is the state association for California’s local United Ways. UWCA works to improve the health, education and financial stability for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California’s United Ways. UWCA is a strong advocate of expanding health coverage to all California children and their families. United Ways work closely with local community and business leaders, state and federal legislators, and volunteers to promote this achievable and important goal.