A collaborative effort of The Children's Partnership, Children Now, and Children's Defense Fund created to ensure that all of California's children obtain the health coverage they need to grow up strong and healthy

Why Coverage Is Important

  • Uninsured children admitted to the ER are 60% more likely to die than insured children.[1]
  • Approximately 1.5 million children were uninsured in California for part or all of the year in 2009.[2]
  • More than half of all uninsured children are eligible for either Healthy Families or Medi-Cal, yet they are not enrolled.[3]
  • Nationwide, the number of uninsured children in the US is growing by nearly 2,000 children a day.[4]
  • California ranks 43rd out of 50 states on the percentage of children who are uninsured.[5]
  • A November 2006 poll commissioned by United Ways of California found that 81% of voters support ensuring that all kids have health insurance.[6]
  • In California, Latinos are nearly 3 times as likely as whites to be uninsured.[7]
  • Young Black and Latino children are twice as likely to be uninsured as white children.[8]
  • California’s Children’s Health Initiatives provide health coverage to the uninsured, and save millions of taxpayer dollars.[9]
  • Children with health insurance learn better – for instance, children covered by Healthy Families showed 63% improvement in paying attention and keeping up with school activities over their previous performance when uninsured.[10]
  • When low-income enrollment increased in Massachusetts by 27.6%, the number of hospital uncompensated care patients accounts decreased by 27.7%.[11]
  • There are only 46 primary care providers for each 100,000 Medi-Cal recipients in California; the federal minimum standard is 60-80 providers per 100,000 enrollees.[12]
  • Children with continuous health coverage are cheap to treat. Medi-Cal costs for children averaged $5.9 million in the six months before a gap in coverage, but more than double to $13.5 million in the first month after the gap, when children are sicker.[13]
  • When Medi-Cal stopped requiring children to re-enroll every three months, more children began to receive continuous health coverage. Due to better access to primary and preventive care, the state accrued $17 million in savings because children were hospitalized less frequently.[14]
  • Pregnant women with poor oral health are 7 times more likely to have a premature and/or low birth weight delivery.[15]
  • Across the country, approximately a quarter of Hispanics and blacks had a dental visit during the year, compared to almost half of whites.[16]
  • Public coverage program eligibility based on the federal poverty level (FPL) does not include the impact of California’s high cost-of-living. A family at 250% FPL in San Francisco has a lower standard of living than a family at 150% in Atlanta.[17]
  • California is 42nd out of 51 (including DC) in terms of employer-based coverage for children.[18]
  • Research has shown that increasing premiums by 1% in Healthy Families would depress enrollment by 15%.[19]
  • In an August 2008 survey, 22% of consumers said that economy-related woes were causing them to go to the doctor less often. About 11% said they've scaled back on prescription drugs to save money.[20]
  • The vast majority if uninsured children are in working families. 88% of uninsured children have at least one working parent.[21]
  • California spends about $40 million a year re-enrolling children who are unnecessarily dropped from Medi-Cal. Streamlined enrollment processes could virtually eliminate this waste.[22]
  • The Federal government‘s total investment spending for children in 2006 was 1.6% of GDP; that piece of the pie is projected to decline by as much as 29%.[23]
  • Between 2000 and 2007, family health care premiums in California rose by 95.8 percent while median earnings went up only 19.3 percent.[24]
  • Between 2000 and 2007, family health coverage premiums provided through workplaces in California rose from $6,227 to $12,194, an increase of $5,967.[25]


[1] Fizan Abdullah et al; October 2009; ‘Analysis of 23 million US hospitalizations: uninsured children have higher all-cause in-hospitality mortality;’ Journal of Public Health; pp. 1-9.

[2] Lavaredda SA, Brown ER, Cabezas L and Roby DH. ‘Number of Uninsured Jumped to More Than Eight Million from 2007 to 2009.’ Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Healthy Policy Research, 2010.

[3] 2007 California Health Interview Survey, University of California Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research, www.chis.ucla.edu.

[4] February 7, 2008 Memorandum, Georgetown Center for Children and Families; http://ccf.georgetown.edu/index/cms-filesystem-action?file=ccf%20publications/federal%20schip%20policy/ccffy2009%20budget%20schip%20memo.pdf.

[5] September, 2006, No Shelter From the Storm: America’s Uninsured Children; Families USA; http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/childrens-health/campaign/publications/no-shelter-from-the-storm.html.

[6] 2006, ‘Get the Facts,’ Cover California’s Kids Coalition; http://www.covercaliforniaskids.org/facts.php

[7] 2007, Snapshot: California’s Uninsured; California HealthCare Foundation; http://www.chcf.org/documents/insurance/SnapshotUninsured07.pdf.

[8] March 1, 2008, National Summit on America’s Children; U.S. House of Representatives; http://www.speaker.gov/pdf/CS3108.pdf.

[9] Michael R. Cousineau, et al.; December, 2007; ‘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; http://communityhealth.usc.edu/USC%20Center%20for%20Community%20Health%20Studies/Center%20for%20Community %20Health%20Studies%20at%20USC_files/Preventable%20Hospitalizations%20Brief.%2012-7.pdf.

[10] Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, “The Healthy Families Program Health Status Assessment (PedsQLTM) Final Report,” Revised September 2004; http://www.mrmib.ca.gov/MRMIB/HFP/PedsQL3.pdf

[11] February 13, 2008, Massachusetts Hospital Association; Hospital Uncompensated Care Trends & Health Care Reform; http://www.mhalink.org/freecareanalysis/08-02-12 MHA ANALYSIS uncompensated care trends.doc

[12] May 2007, ‘Medi-Cal Facts and Figures: A Look at California’s Medicaid Program,’ California HealthCare Foundation; http://www.chcf.org/documents/policy/MediCalFactsAndFigures2007.pdf.

[13] Gerry Fairbrother and Joseph Schuchter, March 2008; ‘Stability and Churning in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families,’ The California Endowment; http://www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/Stability%20%20Chrurning%20Report.pdf.

[14] Andrew Bindman, et. al.; October, 2008; ‘Medicaid Re-Enrollment Policies and Children's Risk of Hospitalizations for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions,’ The Commonwealth Fund;

[15] Children Now Facts & Figures; see http://www.childrennow.org/issues/health/oral_health.html.

[16] Laurie E. Felland, et. al.; July, 2008; ‘Community Efforts to Expand Dental Services for Low-Income People,’ Center for Studying Health System Change, Issue Brief No. 122; see http://www.hschange.org/CONTENT/1000/1000.pdf.

[17] Harbage et. al.; July, 2007; ‘The Future of California’s SCHIP Program: Analyzing the Proposed Federal Legislation,’ California HealthCare Foundation; see http://www.100percentcampaign.org/assets/pdf/fs-080506.pdf.

[18] US Census Bureau; Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type of Coverage by State – Children Under 18: 1999 to 2007; see http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/historic/index.html.

[19] April 15, 2008 Memorandum, Georgetown Center for Children and Families; http://www.100percentcampaign.org/assets/pdf/fs-080415.pdf.

[20] National Association of Insurance Commissioners News Release, August 12, 2008; ‘Weakening U.S. Economy Takes Toll on Americans’ Health: New Research Reveals Consumers Reducing Medical Visits to Save Money;’ http://www.naic.org/Releases/2008_docs/economy_health_toll.htm.

[21] September, 2006, No Shelter From the Storm: America’s Uninsured Children; Families USA; http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/childrens-health/campaign/publications/no-shelter-from-the-storm.html.

[22] Gerry Fairbrother, April, 2005; ‘How Much Does Churning in Medi-Cal Cost?’  The California Endowment; http://www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/churning_medical.pdf.

[23] C. Eugene Steuerle et. al.; November, 2007; ‘Investing in America’s Children;’ Partnership for America’s Success; http://www.partnershipforsuccess.org/uploads/200801_UrbanPaperFINAL.pdf.

[24] September, 2008; ‘Premiums Versus Paychecks: A Growing Burden for California’s Workers;’ Families USA; http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/premiums-vs-paychecks-2008/california.pdf.

[25] Ibid.