Letter to Legislator Regarding Healthy Families
Sacramento – Governor Brown’s announcement today that a budget agreement to eliminate the Healthy Families Program has been reached, could have an enormously negative impact on the 900,000 children that rely on the Healthy Families Program for health care coverage. Disrupting the care of these children could result in mass confusion for families and disruption in care for children. The agreement would move all of the children and teenagers from the Healthy Families Program to Medi-Cal. Healthy Families has been a successful program providing health, dental and vision coverage to lower income children.
“The move to eliminate the Healthy Families Program would be devastating for the some 900,000 children and teenagers throughout California that depend on the program for medical care,” James T. Hay, M.D., President, California Medical Association said. “What the governor has proposed will undoubtedly ensure that those kids now have a harder time getting access to care.”
The California Medical Association (CMA) has joined together with over 40 organizations in opposition of the proposal because of the ramifications it would have on California’s most vulnerable children.
“The state needs to understand better how this transition will affect health care for children of working families,” added Dr. Hay.
CMA, along with other provider and children’s groups has proposed a compromise effort to restructure Healthy Families by moving only the ‘bright line’ children—those whose parents earn between 101 and 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) into Medi-Cal. The state is required to transition these children due to federal health reform.
“Let’s start with this ‘bright line’ shift first. It makes more sense to begin this transition now as a pilot for the wholesale programmatic shift that will be necessary in approximately 18 months under federal health reform,” concluded Dr. Hay.
The proposal to start with the ‘bright line’ children is supported by analyses recently released by both the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) and the Urban Institute.
Despite technological advances, letters and personal meetings remain the most effective means of communicating with elected officials. There are circumstances, however, when it’s better to send an email. For example, if a committee is scheduled to take action on a piece of legislation tomorrow and your legislator is on that committee, then an email or phone call may be the only way to get your message through in time. Also, if you are pressed for time, an email is better than no communication at all. Once you develop a relationship with a legislator’s office, you may find that staffers prefer to communicate with you by email when they are looking for input on health issues or scheduling a meeting.
If you choose to send an email to your elected officials, follow the same rules you would if you were writing a regular letter. Include your address and identify yourself as a constituent. To ensure that your email is read, keep your message brief and to the point.
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