Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - October 8, 2010

Editorial: County's Measure A will quietly help children

One of the quietest ballot measures for Santa Clara County residents is Measure A, a modest annual $29 parcel tax that would assure continuance of an innovative health-insurance program for children and adolescents.

The county's Healthy Kids program — part of the Children's Health Initiative of 2001 — was the first in the nation to provide universal health insurance coverage for children up to age 19 in families that make less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. It covers health and vision care, and has resulted in an increase in care from about 12 percent to an estimated 97 percent of eligible children.

The program in the past decade has provided access to care for about 37,000 children, and helped many thousands more get connected to state and federal health programs. It has been funded largely through private grants and donations, but the economic slump has sharply undercut those sources. The parcel tax would be for 10 years, providing dependable funding. Revenues would be in a special account monitored by a "Citizens Oversight Committee," with annual reports.

The Healthy Kids program leverages an estimated $24 million annually in state and federal funding that comes to Santa Clara County, and it benefits school attendance. Opposition is only from a usual taxpayers' association leader and a Libertarian who generally oppose any new taxes for anything.

Vote YES on Measure A for Santa Clara County's children.

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