New initiative would expand California’s healthcare assistance for children

The initiative would be a pricey one, however, with projections ranging up to $1 billion annually.

A proposed ballot initiative in California would expand the state’s healthcare services to low-middle income children with certain medical conditions. 

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced Wednesday that the initiative has been cleared for circulation. 


The big picture: While the initiative is titled “Expands State Health Care Program For Children With Certain Medical Conditions” by Weber, it would affect individuals under the age of 21. 

  • If it passes, the initiative would require the state to provide financial assistance to families that are not eligible for the California Children’s Services Program, which provides help for chronic medical conditions including cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, cerebral palsy, heart disease, cancer, traumatic injuries and infectious diseases producing major sequelae. 
  • It would cover certain out-of-pocket treatment costs for covered conditions. 
  • The initiative would also create new annual grants to hospitals that provide program services and increase payment rates for physicians that are at least the federal Medicare rate. 
  • Further, the initiative would provide coverage for additional medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, certain infectious diseases and cerebral palsy that are currently covered only by regulation, not by statute. 

Financial impact: The Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments estimates the initiative could potentially cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars to around $1 billion annually. 

What we’re watching: Initiative proponents have until June 24, 2024, to submit at least 546,651 signatures to the state in order to appear on the November 2024 ballot. 

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