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Kids & Healthcare in California -- Learn More

Learn more about why covering all kids is important!

Key Facts

What our members have to say

Healthcare coverage for children - the need is real.

763,000 children in California don't have the health insurance they need to grow up healthy and strong.[1]

A report released in May 2008 by The Commonwealth Fund, reveals that California 34th in the nation in the overall performance of its child health system, and 40th in the nation in securing access to health care for its children. [2]

Employee-based healthcare coverage for families is declining rapdily and becoming more and more expensive. In California, only 56% of employees were covered through their jobs in 2006. At the same time, those empoyers who are offering insurance are reducing benefits through higher co-pays and reducing coverage for spouses and children. [3]

While there are current state programs to provide health care coverage for some low-income children, these programs are not available for all kids. And as we all know, dollars just don't stretch as far in California as they do elsewhere, so our definition of "low-income" might be different than in some other states.

Covering all kids saves money - and lives.

When children have gaps in coverage and do not get timely preventive care, they often end up requiring more expensive health care, such as hospitalizations and emergency room visits. One study found that uninsured children are 5 times more likely to use an emergency room. [4]

A study of nine local Children's Health Initiatives (CHI) in California found that providing children health insurance reduced hospitalizations in the CHI counties by 25% and saved up to $7.35 million annually in preventable hospitalizations. If all low-income children had health insurance, the state could save $24.3 million per year in preventable hospitalizations. [5]

In the 2 years after California extended Medicaid reporting from 3 to 12 months, there were 3,060 fewer hospitalizations associated with ambulatory care sensitive conditions among children than was predicted based on 1999-2000 data (date from two years prior to policy change). This policy change resulted in an estimated $17 million in savings in hospitalization costs. [6]

Covering kids is a good investment in our future.

Healthy children do better in school. Research shows that formerly uninsured children who were covered under public programs had a 63% improvement in paying attention and keeping up with school activities compared to their previous performance when they were uninsured. [7]

Children with health insurance are healthier and are at less risk of suffering from preventable illnesses.

Children are the least expensive to insure. They make up 50.6% of all Medicaid enrollees, but only 22.2% of total expenditures. [8]

Healthcare is a key concern for the majority of families.

In December 2007, 6 in 10 Americans now say they are worried about their ability to access and pay for healthcare. [9]

Medical issues are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. In fact, half of all bankruptcy filings in 2001 were related to medical issues. There's been a twenty-threefold (2,300 percent) increase in medical related bankruptcy filings between 1981, when only 8% of bankruptcies were medical related. [10]

Most of those who went bankrupt had health insurance (a full 76% had insurance when their illness started), and those filing for bankruptcy are "predominantly in the middle or working classes." In fact, working families make up 81% of uninsured people. [11]

According to the World Health Organization, the United States spends more on healthcare per person than any other nation in the world [10], yet still was only tied for the 28th highest life expectancy [12], and ranked in at a low 37th for our mortality rate of children under five years old. [13]

Moms Speak

This issue directly affects members and their families. Here are just a few excerpts of our members' first-hand accounts of the importance of healthcare coverage for kids:

  • Thanks to Medi-Cal, I didn’t hesitate to seek medical attention as soon as I knew something was wrong – so Aubrey was able to get the most effective care before her condition worsened or became more expensive to treat. I am so, so grateful for that. – Anjie
  • I try not to think about money when deciding whether or not to take him to the hospital, but I have to. We are a single income family and every dime counts. Help get health coverage for my son and his peers, please. – Usha
  • We still have money worries aplenty, but with Healthy Families we are able to sleep at night knowing our son's medical needs will be provided for. – Morgan
  • To have to make the decision whether to bring a sick child to the doctor or to pay this months bills is a VERY REAL choice people are having to face daily!! – Denise


[1] S. Lavarreda, et. al., "More than Half of California's Uninsured Children Eligible for Public Programs but Not Entrolled," UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, October 2006.

[2] The Commonwealth Fund, "U.S. Variations in Child Health System Performance: A State Scorecard," May 28, 2008,

[3] Economic Policy Institute, "The Erosion of Employer-Based Insurance," November 2007,

[4] American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, November 1999.

[5] Michael R. Cousineau, et al., Covering California's Kids Evaluation: Children's Health Initiatives Have Helped Prevent Over 1,000 Unnecessary Child Hospitalizations Annually, (Center for Community Health Studies, University of Southern California, December 2007), Michael R. Cousineau, et al., "Preventable Hospitalizations Among Children in California Counties After Child Health Insurance Expansion Initiatives," Medical Care, Vol. 46 (2008): 142-147.

[6] A. B. Bindman, A. Chattopadhyay, and G. M. Auerback, Medicaid Re-Enrollment Policies and Children’s Risk of Hospitalizations for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions, Medical Care, October 2008 46(10):1049–54.

[7] M. Seid, J.W. Varmi, et. al., "The Impact of Realized Access to Care on Health-Related Quality of Life," Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 149 (September 2006): 354.

[8] Children's Health Insurance and Medicaid -- AAP Fact Sheet. Suk-fong S Tang, American Academy of Pediatrics. September 25, 2008.

[9] Kaiser Family Foundation, Kaiser Health Security Watch, December 2007.

[10] David U. Himmelstein et al., "Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy," Health Affairs, February 2, 2005.

[11] Ibid.

[12] World Health Organization, The World Health Report 2005: Make Every Mother and Child Count,

[13] Ibid.,

[14] Ibid.,