California Governor’s Plan To Insure All Children Would Apply to Undocumented Immigrants
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday is expected to propose a plan that would extend health care coverage to all children in the state, including those of undocumented immigrants, according to sources familiar with the plan, the Los Angeles Times reports. The proposal likely will not detail funding, but officials estimate that it could cost the state up to $400 million annually to cover the estimated 763,000 uninsured California children (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 1/4). Jim Keddy of PICO California, a children's health advocacy group, said he was informed that Schwarzenegger would propose expanding eligibility for Healthy Families, the state's SCHIP program, to families whose annual incomes are lower than 300% of the federal poverty level (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 1/4). The plan would require contributions from hospitals, insurers, physicians, patients, businesses and government, according to sources. The proposal also includes new requirements for businesses to provide health coverage for employees to reduce state spending, according to the Times. Adam Mendelsohn, communications director for the governor, said, "There is no final health plan," adding, "As has been the case from the start, all ideas are on the table and the final touches are being applied. The administration is not confirming the inclusion of any one piece." A plan by state Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D) would not cover undocumented immigrant children, while another children's health proposal, by state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D) would cover undocumented immigrant children. According to the Times, a 2003 University of Los Angeles-California survey said that 33% of uninsured children are not citizens, while a California Endowment official said the figure is below 15% (Los Angeles Times, 1/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.