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More than 162,000 eligible children are at risk of falling through safety net and losing hope of needed health coverage.

During this period of severe economic hardship for California's working families, a program that has served as the health care life-line for more than 900,000 California children risks seeing its doors close to eligible children – for the first time in its more than 10-year history. Truly, this could not come at a worse time. Because of the current economic crisis, never before has the Healthy Families Program (Californian’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program) been more needed; enrollment into the low-cost program is at an all-time high, reaching a record average of 27,125 children per month.

Required to operate within financial means, staff at the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) – the agency that oversees the Healthy Families Program – recommend wait-listing all children who apply for Healthy Families coverage. This could lead to more than 162,000 eligible children being denied needed health coverage by June 30, 2009. MRMIB will present the proposed policy to institute a waitlist in the program and will hear public comments on the issue during a board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 19, 2008. The Board will then vote to either enact or reject the proposal on December 17th. Unless a solution is found, doors will close on December 18, 2008.

We now call on the Governor and Legislature to correct this short-sighted cut to Healthy Families, and to fill the $17.2 million funding gap. Otherwise, MRMIB will have no choice but to close its doors beginning December 18, 2008. Read MRMIB's memo, which states that more than 162,000 eligible children could be denied access to Healthy Families health coverage by June 30, 2008, unless the program receives the funding needed to enroll eligible children.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Thanks to MomsRising for sending a letter to the Governor and all CA legislators, calling on them to fully fund the Healthy Families Program. You can send this letter here. Call your legislator and the Governor and tell her/him that: Now, more than ever, California's families rely on the Healthy Families Program. Please do all that you can to ensure that the program is fully funded so that it can continue to serve your constituent children.

Go even further. Look up county-by-county enrollment records and tell the person who handles health issues how many kids currently benefit from Healthy Families coverage in her/his county.

On behalf of The Children’s Partnership and the 100% Campaign, I'd like to thank all the members in California for their steadfast work to ensure that every child has access to health coverage.

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