Proposed California bill would keep 700,000 needy children insured

California lawmakers are attempting to push through a bill that would enable a state health organization that provides families without health insurance with an option to provide low-cost coverage for their children.

California lawmakers are attempting to push through a bill that would enable a state health organization that provides families without health insurance with an option to provide low-cost coverage for their children.

On September 3 the California Senate approved a $164 million plan that would create a new 2.35 percent tax on insurance companies, according to the Los Angeles Times. The revenue from the tax, which lawmakers expect would be about $97 million, would be used to fund Happy Families, a low cost health insurance provider for needy children, and allow them to avoid terminating the programs of 700,000 children they currently cover.

If the bill is approved by the house, the Times added that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was expected to sign the bill.

"There are 700,000 reasons for supporting [the bill]," California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg D-Sacramento) told the Times. "This is a shared solution to a disaster . . . that will occur if we don't intervene."

Healthy Families provides health care services to children who come from low income families that have not had health insurance from an employer for at least three months, according to the service's website.

For a premium each month that ranges from $4 to $17 per child, eligible children receive hospital, dental, and eye care as well as access to surgeons, physical and speech therapists, and drug and alcohol treatment centers

"This is one of those rare opportunities to do the right thing on a bipartisan basis," Wendy Lazarus, the founder of the nonprofit health advocacy organization Children's Partnership, told the Times of her hopes regarding the bill's passing.

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Posted: September 3, 2009

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