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California Officials Say Healthy Families Guidelines Too Restrictive

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Aired 4/19/09

California officials are upset about new guidelines from the Bush Administration that would make it tougher to extend health insurance to more poor children. Expanding the Healthy Families program is one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's top priorities. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to increase the income limit to qualify for the Healthy Families program. But the new federal policy would prevent him from doing so, unless the state had already enrolled at least 95 percent of all children that met a lower income standard.

Ronald Spingarn is with the state agency that runs Healthy Families.   

Spingarn: You know, it seems like a really high bar that California probably could not meet, and, really, we don't think any state would be able to meet that bar.

The Bush Administration says it wants to make sure the program is reserved for low-income children only. California officials say the federal definition is too restrictive, and would leave many poor children without health insurance.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.   

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