Healthy Families Program: On the Ropes

Facing a potential $90 million state funding shortfall in the Healthy Families Program, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) will meet on Monday to consider establishing a waiting list for the program in 2009-10. Healthy Families provides health, dental, and vision services to more than 900,000 California children with family incomes too high to qualify for the Medi-Cal Program.

The Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee rejected the Governor’s proposal to eliminate Healthy Families to help close the state’s budget gap. Instead, the committee took actions that MRMIB estimates would result in a $90 million state funding shortfall in 2009-10. Despite the current budget impasse in the Legislature, MRMIB will hold a public hearing “to consider whether it must make a finding that there are insufficient funds to cover” Healthy Families spending in 2009-10. The $90 million shortfall would force tens of thousands of low-income children to wait for health coverage and would cause California to lose well over $160 million in federal matching funds.

— Scott Graves and Raul Macias

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