Program will offer medical coverage for children
SACRAMENTO - The problem is familiar across rural California: children without health insurance, their parents lacking medical benefits at work, local governments lacking the funds to help.
Yuba and Colusa counties are among four counties responding to the crisis with a regional program meant to bring medical, dental and vision coverage to nearly a third of the 34,000 children under 18 lacking it.
County supervisors and Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo formally introduced the Healthy Kids project, which began taking applications Sept. 8, at a Thursday press conference outside Discovery Tree Preschool in downtown Sacramento.
For communities thin on resources, Healthy Kids might point the way to casting a wider safety net for the young, said Colusa County Supervisor Christy K. Scofield, who represented the Mid-Valley along with Yuba County Supervisor Mary Jane Griego.
“Colusa could not ever do this alone,” said Scofield. “We're small, we haven't much population. To offer some of the advantages that Sacramento and El Dorado and Yuba counties offer is so exciting.”
Healthy Kids is aimed at families that don't qualify for state programs such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families but lack employer-provided coverage. Families with incomes less than 300 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible to apply.
Some 1,400 minors in Yuba County and another 1,000 in Colusa County lack health coverage, according to Healthy Kids Healthy Families, the multi-county nonprofit group that runs the insurance program.
Richard Pan, a Sacramento pediatrician and the Healthy Kids chairman, called the campaign as much a public health exercise as an insurance one, saying it would encourage low-income families to have their children treated earlier, check the spread of disease and cut the number of unneeded emergency-room visits.
Appeal reporter Howard Yune can be reached at 749-4708 or email@example.com.