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January 17, 2008

Kids’ health plan in California saves big bucks

A new study found that providing health insurance to children through the local Children’s Health Initiatives saves California taxpayers in nine counties $7 million a year by preventing more than 1,000 unnecessary hospitalizations.

The study comes at an advantageous time for supporters of universal children’s health insurance, who fear momentum for guaranteeing coverage to all children may be waning in light of a $14 billion state budget shortfall and fading enthusiasm for comprehensive statewide health reform.

“It’s exactly the thing we need,” said Kena Burke, director of the San Luis Obispo County Children’s Health Initiative. “It demonstrates that when you put your dollars in the beginning, the kids stay healthier.”

Children’s Health Initiatives in 25 counties, including San Luis Obispo, boost enrollment in public programs, Healthy Families and Medi-Cal, in addition to offering their own insurance, Healthy Kids.

Healthy Kids is for children in families who don’t qualify for state and federal programs because their families earn too much or because of their immigration status.

The study released Monday by the Center for Community Health Studies at USC’s Keck School of Medicine compared preventable childhood hospitalizations in nine counties before and after the implementation of the Children’s Health Initiatives.

The study was funded by The California Endowment and First 5 Association of California.

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Posted by healthinsurance at January 17, 2008 06:40 PM