An important question to ask about any health care system is how well it serves children in low-income families. In California, the question raises much optimism, though there are continuing areas of concern. On one hand, 88 percent of eligible children were enrolled in Medi-Cal as of 2013, the state's Medicaid program, up 7 percent since 2007 (The Urban Institute 2015). Moreover, the state is now gearing to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to all children in low-income families. The increase is thanks to California's comprehensive implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and additional state-based initiatives that will soon expand. On the other hand, stakeholders are concerned that access to high quality health care services for children in low-income families is not keeping pace with rapid expansion in access to insurance.
This issue brief was prepared as part of a small-scale qualitative study funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to convey recent positive developments, remaining unmet needs, and emerging issues in children's health care coverage and delivery, from the perspective of knowledgeable stakeholders. Issue briefs on children's health in Colorado and Texas and a cross-state analysis are also available.