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Doctors challenge Jerry Brown over children's health

The state’s largest association of doctors is making a last-ditch attempt to resurrect a popular children’s health program eliminated by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year.

The California Medical Assn., which represents more than 30,000 California doctors, is pushing legislation in the final days of the legislative year to resurrect Healthy Families, which provides medical care to about 875,000 California children. The program was eliminated under the budget approved by Democrats and signed by Brown earlier this year.

The children served by Healthy Families will now receive care under Medi-Cal, which doctors say will provide them with inferior health coverage. The program is popular with Democrats and Republicans alike, and many Republicans now say they are willing to assess health plans with a tax in order to keep the program alive. Health insurers and doctors want to see the plan resurrected in part because Healthy Families reimburses them at a higher rate than Medi-Cal does.

In a statement Monday, a spokesman for the Brown administration said they would oppose any maneuver to undue the action taken earlier this year. “We believe that moving this population to Medi-Cal managed care can lead to better quality and more cost-effective care,” said Norman Williams, a spokesman for the Department of Health Care Services. “The transition is an important part of solving the state’s budget crisis, and it helps prepare California for healthcare reform implementation in 2014."

Also:

California Teachers Assn. a powerful force in Sacramento

State gives initial OK to $1.4 million for lawsuit settlements

Assembly speaker vows action on public pensions, 'regulatory reform'

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

 
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