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Children's Health Plan Proposed

Supervisors are to assess cost of offering coverage to Ventura County's uninsured youngsters.

June 09, 2005|Catherine Saillant | Times Staff Writer

Ventura County supervisors Tuesday will debate whether to join a growing movement to provide low-cost health insurance for every child who needs it.

A dozen California counties already have enacted versions of the Children's Health Initiative, a statewide campaign aimed at providing coverage for children without access to private or public healthcare.

Officials propose opening a one-stop enrollment office in Santa Paula or Fillmore as early as September, said Kathy Long, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors and a proponent of the initiative.

The program would be open to all children younger than 18, regardless of citizenship status, Long said.

"I expect there will be some challenges to that," she said. "But we are not immigration cops."

Officials estimate that 27,000 Ventura County children are poor enough to qualify for existing public health programs but are not yet enrolled.

Another 5,000 are in families who earn too much for public programs but have no private coverage.

Tuesday's vote will consider only the first phase of the program, an assessment of its cost.

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