Kids losing coverage…

The most explosive, least reported story of the week–the equivalent of children getting pink slips:

Alameda Alliance for Health to close Healthy Kids Program,
blames state funding woes
San Francisco Business Times

A lack of permanent funding from public and private sources, and the failure of health-care reform in California is forcing the public Alameda Alliance for Health to close its Healthy Kids program, officials said Tuesday.

The closure, which will affect 1,000 poor children in Alameda County, is scheduled to take place Sept 30.

The Alliance is a non-profit, state-licensed health plan that attempts to make high quality health care services “accessible and affordable” to poor residents of the county, officials said, including children from families that don’t qualify for other public programs, due to income requirements or residency status.

The Alameda County plan, started in 1996, provides services to 92,000 Alameda County residents through programs such as Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, Alliance Group Care and Alliance CompleteCare.

County officials called the pending closure “an act of last resort” and Lamirault added that some children who are losing their Healthy Kids coverage may be eligible for Kaiser Permanente’s Child Health Plan.

The Alliance was one of 10 counties statewide that began its Healthy Kids program in the fall of 2005, officials said. Today 30 counties offer the program, which provides comprehensive health care coverage to more than 80,000 children each year.

Some funds from the nonprofit California Endowment were committed for the older participants, but significant funding from Alameda County’s Tobacco Settlement Funds have been “redirected to support other county priorities,” due to the state’s budget crunch.

Alameda isn’t the only county where this will happen. It’s a shocking thing, for California counties to drop kids from coverage, but that’s exactly what is happening.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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