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Kids insurance program celebrates milestone


San Jose Mercury

Since the beginning of the year, San Mateo County has provided health insurance for 70 percent of the estimated 5,350 children eligible for its Healthy Kids program for the working poor.

The milestone was announced in a report made Tuesday to the board of supervisors.

The program -- funded by private charities, tobacco tax dollars and the county government -- provides an option for poor, working families that make too much money to qualify for federal or state health insurance.

In San Mateo County, a family consisting of a single parent and two children needs $53,760 a year to pay for the necessities, according to county estimates.

The county's high cost of living is nearly four times the federal poverty level used to calculate Medi-Cal cutoffs.

"The goal is to reach 100 percent of the children in the county, until the state or the federal government steps in and develops a program for universal coverage," said Toby Douglas, the county's manager of health access initiatives. -- Joshua L. Kwan