Below is a link to the minutes of the Sequoia Healthcare District at which they first approved the Children's Health Initiative subsidy.
I invite reader comments about the cost effectiveness of this program.
The Board had been provided with information outlining the County's request that the District commit $1.35 million annually for five years to help support San Mateo County's Children's Health Initiative. Ms. Taylor stated that the initiative would:
• Insure that all children from age 6 to 18, who reside within the District, would have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage.
• Provide health insurance to approximately 3,900 uninsured children in the District.
• Link 2,450 uninsured children to Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.
• Cover 1,450 children through a new "Healthy Kids" program for children living in households with incomes under 400 percent of the federal poverty level (single parent with 3 children is $67,155).
• Cost $5.4 million countywide.
• Expand existing outreach in order to enroll more families in Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and Healthy Kids program.
• Develop an evaluation component to measure the initiative's effectiveness. Also, compliance with the "terms and conditions" stated below should be questioned.
EXCERPTS from meeting minutes:
"After discussion of the merits of this program, Director Faro stated that the vision to make available access to healthcare to every child within the District fits the philosophy of this Board and he offered a motion to grant $1.35 million for 5 years to help fund the Children's Health Initiative with the following terms and conditions:
1. The District remains a sovereign entity with the ability to collect taxes.
2. San Mateo County will match each dollar provided by the District.
3. The District's grant will be used only to fund health insurance for children living within the District.
4. The District's grant will be funded only from tax receipts collected in the current year.
5. The District's contribution to the program will not exceed more than 25% of the total cost of the program, or $1.35 million, whichever is less.
6. The District will receive at least quarterly updates and progress reports.
7. The District's grant will be funded on a semi-annual basis after receipt of an invoice.
8. If the program is terminated or substantially modified at any time during the five-year period, the District may withdraw any remaining grant funds not yet paid.
9. San Mateo County and the Children's Health Initiative will hold the District, its directors, officers, staff, and representatives, harmless, and indemnify and defend them from any and all claims brought in connection with the District's participation in the program."
Director Kane seconded the motion which passed by roll call vote as follows:
Ayes: Director Faro, Director Kane, Director MacNaughton, Director Shefren
I have appended a relevant letter to the editor published in 2003. I agree with the second suggestion.
Alternative school funding solutions offered
Here are two alternative solutions to San Mateo County's school funding shortfalls, which will result due to state budget cuts.
1. Place a requirement that children of U.S. citizens, only, be allowed to participate in San Mateo County's Children's Health Initiative. According to some demographers, this would allow up to $2.6 million of the initiative's cost per year to be allocated for the county's school districts.
2. Lower the Children's Health Initiative's income threshold for qualification from $61,000 to $28,000 per family. I believe that perhaps as much as half of the $7.7 million cost could then be directed toward school programs.
Eric von Stoeffel