Cost Of Washington State Plan To Insure All Children Higher Than Expected

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A program that will expand health care to all children in Washingtonstate will cost almost twice the amount predicted and provide coveragemainly for undocumented immigrant children, according to new statedata, the Seattle Post-Intelligencerreports. Previous estimates had determined that the program, which goesinto effect on July 22, would insure 6,680 undocumented immigrantchildren, but now this figure is estimated at more than 16,000. Theincrease was a result of unanticipated numbers of noncitizen siblingsof citizen children now covered by the program, according to KirstaGlenn, executive director of the state's Caseload Forecast Council.

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Theimpact of the increased number of eligible children is close to $16million more than the $29 million estimate, a 54% cost increase. Of thetotal $45 million, $12 million will be spent covering U.S. children whopreviously were uninsured, and $25 million will be spent coveringundocumented immigrant children. About $8 million will be spent onchildren who are citizens and are covered by other insurance programs,according to the new figures.

The increase in cost will beoffset by $19 million in new federal funds, and the "net impact to the[state] budget is a $6 million increase," according to Victor Moore,director of the state Office of Financial Management (McGann, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/22). Clinics Treating Immigrant Children Featured on ABC
ABC's "World News": The program on Sunday examined health clinics that provide care for uninsured immigrant children. Some clinics, such as the Venice Family Clinicin Los Angeles County, Calif., provide low-cost care with fundingthrough patient copayments, donations, in-kind contributions andgovernment funding. Groups that oppose providing health care forundocumented immigrants maintain that "health care for illegalimmigrants and their kids only encourages more illegal immigration,""World News" reports. As an alternate approach to government-fundedprograms, some winemakers in Napa Valley, Calif., have raised millionsof dollars for Clinic Ol

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