For Immediate Release: August 14th, 2014
Contact: Isobel White, (510) 828-3554, Kathleen Hamilton, (916) 706-2917
Children’s Health Advocates Celebrate Common-Sense Effort to Keep Children and Families Insured
BILL TO ACCEPT $12M IN PRIVATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS FOR
MEDI-CAL RENEWAL ASSISTANCE HEADS TO ASSEMBLY FLOOR
A coalition of children’s health advocates heralded the passage of Senate Bill 18, authored by state Senators Mark Leno and Ed Hernandez, by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The bill requires the state to accept private foundation funds and matching federal funds to help children and families maintain their Medi-Cal coverage, including the 1.9 million Californians newly enrolled in the program. The bill now heads to the Assembly floor.
California has led the way on implementation of the Affordable Care Act by expanding Medi-Cal coverage to millions more individuals. “SB 18 will build upon the incredible strides the state has made in providing health coverage to children and families by funding – at no cost to the state – assistance for Medi-Cal recipients to renew their coverage,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder & Co-President of The Children’s Partnership. “We cannot afford to move backwards by letting children and families fall off the Medi-Cal program.”
Individuals must renew their coverage every year. With new, complicated Medi-Cal renewal rules and forms, there is growing concern that on the heels of the historic expansion, some low-income Californians could now actually lose coverage because of a cumbersome and unfamiliar renewal process.
The California Endowment, a private foundation, has offered California $6 million, which would be matched by $6 million in federal funds, to provide assistance for individuals and families renewing their Medi-Cal coverage. “The Assembly has taken a very important first step that will help hundreds of thousands of families keep their health coverage by moving SB 18 forward,” said Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, Senior Policy and Communications Association with the Children’s Defense Fund-California. “California’s children and families are counting on the full Legislature and the Governor to continue their strong commitment to health coverage by enacting this critical bill.”
“The renewal process in Medi-Cal is hugely important to keep kids and families covered and maintain their access to care,” said Erica Herrera, a Certified Enrollment Counselor with more than four years of experience with Yolo County Children’s Alliance. “That is why SB 18 is so important at the local level. The families I work with need this assistance.”
“More than half of California’s children receive health coverage through Medi-Cal. Maintaining that coverage is important for the health and well-being of children, and for the fiscal health of the state,” said Kelly Hardy, Director of Health Policy at Children Now. “When low-income individuals and families lack coverage, their health suffers, their ability to attend work or school suffers, and California as a whole suffers. SB 18 is smart legislation to make sure millions of Californians do not have to undergo such an unnecessary experience.
The Children’s Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children – especially those at risk of being left behind – have the resources and opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives. TCP focuses particular attention on securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families. www.childrenspartnership.org
Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children’s well-being to the top of the state and national policy agenda. Children Now focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children. www.childrennow.org
Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is the California office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, a quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. www.cdfca.org
PICO California is the state’s largest community organizing network. We organize in 73 cities, 35 school districts, and in more than one-half of the state’s Senate and Assembly districts. PICO California was established in 1994, bringing together local federations from throughout California to affect meaningful budget and policy change at the state level. Over the past 20 years, our organizing and policy advocacy has resulted in increased investments in education and healthcare, and in programs and services that are critical for working families. Together, we represent 480 congregations and 450,000 families of diverse economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds committed to advancing racial and economic justice in California through organizing, advocacy, and voter engagement. www.picocalifornia.org
California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI), a leader in health advocacy for children and families, is a statewide association of outreach and enrollment organizations that are focused on helping children and families navigate into affordable health coverage and have access to high quality health care and other services. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal, as well as administering local Healthy Kids programs, the members of CCHI have shown that coverage for all children in California is a reachable goal. www.cchi4families.org
United Ways of California (UWCA) is the state association for California’s local United Ways. UWCA works to improve the health, education and financial stability for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California’s United Ways. UWCA is a strong advocate of expanding health coverage to all California children and their families. United Ways work closely with local community and business leaders, state and federal legislators, and volunteers to promote this achievable and important goal. www.unitedwaysca.org
CCHI is a leader in health advocacy for children and families and is recognized as a statewide network of community organizations that champion enrollment in health coverage, access to care and other services.