With the passage of AB1422(Bass) that draws down new federal funds to help prevent children from being disenrolled from health care coverage, consumer, children’s, and health advocates breathed a sign of relief.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has committed to sign the bill that was passed today, and so hopefully MRMIB will start enrolling the 70,000+ children on their waiting list as soon as possible. The Governor issued the following statement after the legislature passed AB 1422 by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles):
“The passage of this bipartisan legislation is a great victory for California’s kids. I am very pleased that all parties came together including the legislature, the health plan industry, children’s health advocates, the First Five Commission and others to find a shared solution to fund this important program that ensures not one child will lose their health care coverage – without any new General Fund dollars. Everyone was forced to make very difficult but necessary decisions to balance our budget, and these are the kinds of solutions we should be looking for in this tough economy. I look forward to signing this bill for our kids.”
The good news is that we have averted a massive health and humanitarian crisis, kicking hundreds of thousands of children off coverage. We shouldn’t have been facing such an ugly scenario in the first place. And let’s remember that while we’ve prevented the anxiety of families losing coverage for their kids, those lower-income, working families are now facing increased–even doubled–premiums.
The bad news is that other major cuts will continue. This was a unique opportunity to prevent this specific cut: the calvary isn’t coming to prevent the devastating impact of other health cuts, from the elimination of dental and other benefits for three million Californians, or the zeroing out of state funding for community clinics. There is no such savior for millions of other of Californians facing such cuts.