The California Medical Association and other health care groups are trying to restore Healthy Families coverage for 880,000 lower-income children, but Gov. Jerry Brown remains opposed.
As part of a June budget compromise, the Democratic governor asked lawmakers to eliminate Healthy Families and shift 880,000 children just above poverty level over to Medi-Cal. Republicans opposed the move and Democrats reluctantly approved it as part of a deal to avoid deeper cuts in other health and welfare programs.
Brown believes the change will be more efficient and points out that children whose parents earn between 100 percent and 138 percent of federal poverty level will regardless have to move to Medi-Cal by 2014 under federal health care changes.
Separately, the governor is counting on $183 million for the state budget by extending a tax on managed care plans that draws down more federal funds. But he still needs two-thirds support from the Legislature to approve the tax, and Republicans have refused to provide votes as long as the state eliminates Healthy Families. The bills being floated by CMA - Senate Bill 301 and Assembly Bill 826 - would extend the tax and restore Healthy Families.
The doctors' group says it has bipartisan support for the legislation. But it still lacks support from Brown.
"The Governor is opposed to modifying the budget agreement, because we can't go back on the important savings we have achieved," said Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford. "The full transition from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal simplifies and improves health care coverage for California's children in addition to saving money."