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Governor signs bill to keep Healthy Families kids insured

Adding a dash of good feeling to a year dominated by budgetary distress, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning signed a measure that keeps nearly 700,000 children from being yanked off a government health insurance program.

The measure by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) allows the state’s Healthy Families program to reap $196 million and ensure coverage to children of families who wouldn’t otherwise have coverage.

“We were going through painful moments…Today we are turning all this around,” Schwarzenegger said during a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda. “It would have been disastrous to lose healthcare for all those kids.”

He called the scheme used to save the program “innovative,” with much of the money coming from a new 2.35% tax on health insurance companies that will be used to leverage nearly $100 million in federal matching funds.  Insurance companies will be largely reimbursed with federal money for the cost of the tax, which expires at the end of 2010.

In addition, the state’s First 5 early childhood development effort, the voter-approved program that is flush with cash from a special tobacco tax, has agreed to divert $81 million to help Healthy Families.

More than $15 million in additional funds would come from a shift in dental coverage and from higher premiums and co-payments for Healthy Families participants. The only unaffected participants would be the lowest-income enrollees, making less than $27,500 annually for a family of three.

During the signing ceremony, Schwarzenegger also announced that the state had won $42.7 million in federal stimulus money to help the homeless.

-- Eric Bailey in Sacramento

Comments () | Archives (3)

See illegals do get FREE healthcare!! Most working middle class families do not qualify for Healthy Families. Medi Cal income limits are based on income from 1985. Most cant live on that income today but it's easy for illegals when they work under the table and receive govt assistance, either from WIC or other food programs, which are paid with American tax dollars. It's funny; we Americans take better care of the people who live here illegally, than we take care of ourselves. We dont have FREE healthcare and many seem to not want us to ever have it. Yet it's OK to disrespect the President and call him names when illegals already get FREE healthcare! Go figure

Illegal immigrants cannot qualify for Healthy Families. The documentation rules are very strict - applicants must show proof of citizenship or legal immigrant status as well as proof of identity.

Also, Healthy Families is not "free healthcare." There are co-pays and premiums. The lowest-income enrollees mentioned will not have their premiums increased - but they will still need to pay to stay in the program.

Families can qualify for Healthy Families earning just over $55,000 a year for a family of four. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey, the median income for a California family of four is $60,298. That means half of all California families earn below that amount, putting Healthy Families eligibility well in the range of many working families.

You can get real information at www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov.

It's time to get informed.

Yes, the children of illegals. Once born here they are considered citizens, so they will qualify. NO hospital asks for proof of citzenship, nor does Social Services, they just want ID.


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