New York and California are forging new coalitions in fight to insure their states

At opposite ends of the country, two large and influential states are pushing toward lowering their rates of uninsured children and adults in ways that the rest of the country may end up following. New York and California each have been dubbed as among the most progressive in America when it comes to creating large programs to benefit the working poor.

New York State’s program, the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) 2000, became law in December 1999 and only now is beginning to gain momentum. It was created to enlarge upon NY’s Health Care Reform Act of 1996 and bring coverage to as many as 1 million New Yorkers. The bill is a work in progress as state officials are still in negotiations with the Health Care Financing Administra-tion (HCFA) for waiver approvals.

In California, Gov. Gray Davis says he wants to expand the state’s Healthy Families program to cover all members of the working poor, both children and their parents. By putting Health Families into place, the governor may avoid losing California’s allotment of federal funding from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The target is 600,000 working adults, and it could cost the state an additional $128 million each year.

For both states, expanding their programs is seen by many of their administrators and policy-makers as the only way available to reach the people the programs were created for. Both state’s programs have plenty in common.