Throwing kids overboard?

The Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board on Monday will consider adopting emergency regulations that would enable the state to establish waiting lists and begin disenrolling children from Healthy Families, the state’s program for low- and middle-income children, as early as December 5.

At the October 24 meeting, board members deferred a decision on the emergency regulations until more information from Washington — and the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — was forthcoming. Advocates also offered other options, as spelled out in this report, and pointed out that the Legislature should weigh in before the state begins kicking children off coverage — particularly during the year of health reform.

The situation on Capitol Hill has been bleak, according to news reports, and the President is expected to veto another bill that would extend the SCHIP. The latest congressional bill would have given California enough money to sustain its Healthy Families program, which enrolls 850,000 children.

According to independent analyses, if the President had his way and funded SCHIP with only the $5 billion increase:

  • 260,000 children would need to be disenrolled immediately 11/1 (next week); OR,
  • 433,000 children would need to be disenrolled by 1/1/08; OR,
  • Healthy Families would shut down, and disenroll all 830,000 children 7/1/08.

To avoid the ensuing calamity, advocates should get their comments into the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board ASAP!

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

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