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Every child in California in every classroom and playground is eligible for public or private health insurance. Thanks in large part to Medi-Cal, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the Health4All Kids regardless of immigration status program, 97 percent of California children now have health coverage. Half of all children in California — more than five million children — are covered by Medicaid and CHIP, together in California known as Medi-Cal. However, despite those gains, between 100,000-200,000 California children remain uninsured. Providing health coverage for children has numerous benefits in the short- and long-term. Children with health coverage can get regular care to maximize development and to help avoid costly hospitalizations and the long-term health consequences of treatable conditions. Covered children also learn better in school and have higher educational attainment. We work to ensure every child in California has access to comprehensive, pediatric-appropriate affordable health coverage.
CDF-CA advocates for improved eligibility, enrollment, and retainment systems, as well as outreach and education efforts to ensure all children who are eligible for affordable coverage get enrolled and stay enrolled.
Together, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (known collective in California as Medi-Cal) have cut the rate of uninsured children in California by half over the last decade. Today, Medi-Cal provides comprehensive, affordable health coverage to more than half of all California children, including 180,000 children enrolled as a result of Health4All Kids implemented in 2016. CDF-CA works to protect and build upon those gains by defending Medicaid and CHIP from cuts at the federal and state levels, and advocating for additional investments in children’s coverage.
In addition to protecting children’s coverage in the ACA and Medicaid, we are working to ensure that federal CHIP funding is renewed by Congress before it is scheduled to end on October 1, 2017. If Congress fails to act, California would need to spend an estimated $900 million to continue coverage for 2 million CHIP eligible children and pregnant women (1.4 million at any given time). CDF-CA, along with our partner organizations, have published a toolkit with CHIP resources in order to educate the public and policymakers about renewal.
With child coverage at an historic high in California, CDF-CA works to preserve Medi-Cal, renew CHIP, implement Health4all Kids, and protect the ACA. CDF-CA continues to press for improved access to affordable, comprehensive prevention, primary and specialty health care for children in California.
Under the ACA, California extended coverage to millions of uninsured or under-insured Californians through Medi-Cal and Covered California. The ACA also put in place much-needed changes in the health care industry, including providing no-cost preventive care, ending discrimination against children and adults with pre-existing conditions and eliminating caps on health coverage. Read our fact sheet: How Are California Children Faring on the Fifth Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act?