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Assembly passes bill to rescue Healthy Families program

September 3, 2009 |  4:06 pm

In a rare show of bipartisan support, the state Assembly today approved a proposal to keep nearly 700,000 children from being pushed off a government health insurance program for the working poor.

The measure, brokered by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and passed by the state Senate on Wednesday, won approval on a 58-0 vote.

Bass called the move to rescue the state’s Healthy Families program — achieved with the support of eight Republicans who crossed party lines — one of the most heartening votes in a year beset by partisan squabbling.

“It’s a memorable day when we come together across party lines to stand up for the children in California,” she said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he would sign the bill, which now goes to his desk.

Healthy Families had been cut deeply in recent months as lawmakers scrambled to balance the state budget. Under the rescue effort, the program will reap $196 million to keep children of low-income families from losing their government-subsidized medical coverage.

--Eric Bailey in Sacramento