Kids' Health Insurance Program Avoids Enrollment Freeze

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Healthy Families provides medical, dental and vision care to more than 900,000 California children from low income households. Program officials were planning on freezing enrollment because of the state’s budget crisis. More than 160,000 kids expected to apply for medical coverage in coming months would have been left on a waiting list. But a last minute announcement of almost $17 million from First Five California filled most of the funding gap.  

Lesley Cummings is with the state board that oversees Healthy Families. 

“The mood of the board is jubilation, flat out jubilation, and gratitude that First 5 would take this important and generous step.”  
First 5 is a commission formed to distribute proceeds from California’s 50 cent a pack tobacco tax. It was approved by voters a decade ago.  Cummings says the money from First 5 will last until June… but after that the state will have to fully fund Healthy Families to prevent waiting lists.