SAN FRANCISCO -- When US senators return from their recess at the end of the month, they would have to pass a budget by the Sept. 30 deadline in order to avoid a government shutdown. Among the many items on the table, health care has been the centerpiece of the discussion.
Medi-Cal and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) together cover more than 5.7 million children in California. CHIP, a 20-year-old program, covers children whose families are low-income but not poor enough to qualify for Medi-Cal. Its funding set to expire on Sept. 30 unless it is renewed.
President of The Children’s Partnership Mayra Alvarez said cuts to the health care program would impact millions families and their children.
“Medi-Cal and CHIP are lifelines for families who cannot afford insurance on their own,” Alvarez said during a telephone conference on Aug. 10.
Among the many benefits children receive from the two programs are free preventive services, including dental care, vision exams and mental health services.
Since May of last year, Medi-Cal, which is funded by California taxpayers, has covered 190,000 undocumented children under 19.
According Andie Patterson, who is the director of Government Affairs with California Primary Care Association (CPCA), cuts to Medi-Cal could also result in a 30 percent funding reduction to the 2,800 non-profit clinics that are in the organization.
“Any threats to Medi-Cal undermines the survival of health centers,” Patterson said.
According to Patterson, CPCA clinics are urging their patients to put pressure on their federal legislators to not