The Washington state House Health Care and Wellness Committee on Wednesday recommended approval of a bill (HB 1071) that would expand a state health insurance program to include undocumented immigrant children, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports.
The bill is part of a proposal by Democratic leaders to combine several state health plans for children with the goal of covering all children in the state by 2010.
The legislation would expand coverage in the program to all children of families with annual incomes up to three times the federal poverty level by 2009.
Families with annual incomes below $40,000 would pay nothing for the coverage, and families with incomes greater than $40,000 per year would pay a sliding fee based on income.
Health care coverage for children currently costs the state $119 per month per child, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services.
State Rep. Shaw Schual-Berke (D) said the bill makes fiscal sense because the state could provide several years of health insurance for a child at the same cost as an emergency department visit by a child who did not receive preventive care.
Some Republicans do not support providing health care for undocumented immigrant children and are concerned about the cost of expanding coverage (Roesler, Spokane Spokesman-Review, 1/25).
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.