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President Obama’s Health Reform Proposal Makes Children a Priority

Feb 22, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama today unveiled a proposal outlining sweeping reforms to the nation’s health care system. It notably includes the preservation of children’s health care coverage programs and recommendations to expand coverage for children. On behalf of California’s leading children’s advocates, Wilma Chan of Children Now released the following statement responding to the President’s announcement:

“We applaud President Obama’s continued commitment to making children’s health coverage a high priority in his proposal to reform our nation’s health care system.

“The President recognizes that programs like the Healthy Families Program (California’s version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP) and Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) have been highly successful lifelines for children of working families to receive health coverage. By extending CHIP to 2019, the President delivers a proposal that is in touch with the needs of working parents trying to keep their kids healthy as they struggle through the recession.

“We commend the President’s proposal to cover more children through Medi-Cal. And by increasing the federal government’s contribution to these additional costs, he provides much welcomed relief just when California needs it. This is yet another signal that the federal government will reward states that prioritize covering uninsured children.

“These elements of the President’s proposal are consistent with the interests and priorities of the American people - as demonstrated in a recent national poll which shows that 89% of Americans are in favor of ensuring that all children have access to health coverage. In fact, support for children’s health care coverage was highest of all health policy issues.

“In stark contrast, Governor Schwarzenegger’s recent state budget proposal threatens to cut health coverage for at least 200,000 kids and potentially more than 1 million California children. While the President seeks to reduce the number of uninsured children throughout the country, the Governor’s proposal if enacted will dramatically increase the number of uninsured children in California by kicking kids enrolled in Healthy Families and Medi-Cal off coverage.

“We urge state lawmakers to recognize the widespread support for children’s coverage as President Obama did today, and send Governor Schwarzenegger a clear message that a budget that cuts health care for California’s children is not worthy of their support.”

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