Both the 2013-14 State Budget and legislation passed recently include improvements to children’s health policy that members of The Children’s Movement helped make possible.

See the Movement’s joint letter of support for kids health sent to the state’s leadership.

Improvements made to children’s health

  • The legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law legislation (ABX1 2/SBX1 2) that makes necessary reforms to the private health insurance market, including banning the practices of denying individuals coverage due to a pre-existing condition and charging a sick child higher premiums than a healthy child.

  • The legislature also passed legislation (ABX1 1/SBX1 1), now awaiting the Governor’s signature, that would expand Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income adults, including roughly 500,000 parents, and streamline the Medi-Cal enrollment process, ensuring even more eligible-but-uninsured kids get the health insurance coverage and care they need.

  • There was a compromise to provide continued Medi-Cal coverage for youth aging out of the foster care system between July 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014; this is a great win for vulnerable youth who will benefit from maintaining their health insurance (funded with $900,000 from the general fund).

  • Adult dental benefits were partially restored for over three million adults with Medi-Cal coverage, starting in May 2014. When parents visit the dentist, their children are more likely to get regular dental care as well (funded with $77 million from the general fund per year; $16 million for the budget year given the late start date).

Missed Opportunities

Unfortunately, the state’s leadership also missed several opportunities to improve children’s health further through the budget, including:

  • Failing to include funding in the Medi-Cal budget for Applied Behavioral Analysis services for children with autism who are ineligible for regional center services (would be funded with $50 million from the general fund).

  • Not protecting pediatric dental reimbursement rates from a 10% rate cut, and not restoring the California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program, which was cut in 2009.

  • Failing to include funding for the Early Mental Health Initiative, a proven and cost-effective program that has been helping kindergarten through 3rd grade children in public schools for over 20 years.

  • Not restoring funding for the Early Start program, which since 2009 has had to severely limit the number of infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays that it serves.

  • Not allocating Managed Care Organization tax and hospital quality assurance fee revenue to improve children’s health; instead, these funds will be used to backfill the general fund.