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Defeat of Tobacco Tax Initiative Limits Children’s Health Insurance Expansion Plan

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Aired 4/19/09

The defeat of the tobacco initiative Prop. 86 means there’s no new source of funding for expanding children’s health insurance. Still, health care advocates are hopeful lawmakers will figure something out. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has promised for years to figure out a way to insure more California children. But he’s also pledged not to raise taxes.  That’s not necessarily a problem, says Ted Lempert, president of the non-profit group Children Now.

Lempert: We can finish the job of getting health insurance to every child in this state, for under $400 million. Now obviously, $400 million is a lot of money. But in the context of the state budget, it is something that is doable, within the amount there, without raising taxes.

However, Lempert says lawmakers would have to make universal coverage for children the state’s top priority. Currently, some 800,000 California children are uninsured. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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