That's why Measure A on the Nov. 2 ballot is getting such universal support. The proposed $29 per year parcel tax will generate $13-14 million per year for 10 years to fund the "Healthy Kids" program in Santa Clara County.
According to supporters, "Measure A will fully fund the Healthy Kids program and ensure that all eligible county children have access to health insurance, including preventative health care services and early detection and treatment for such terrible illnesses as asthma or diabetes."
Whether we like it or not, county taxpayers are going to pay to provide health care for the more than 15,000 uninsured children in Santa Clara County, whether through emergency room services or through this plan for preventative care.
Families should not have to wait until their children are sick, thereby requiring emergency room services to deal with their illnesses. The "Healthy Kids" program would provide for immunizations and regular check-ups to keep children healthy and in school, and to help to prevent childhood obesity.
It's more cost effective to keep children healthy than to deal with their health issues after the fact, and certainly better for the children and their families. It's for that reason that Measure A has garnered the support of the League of Women Voters, The Health Trust, the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the San Jose Mercury News and many more organizations.
Area hospitals are certainly in favor of the measure. El Camino Hospital, Kaiser and Valley Medical Center, along with the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, are all supporting Measure A.
Two important points brought out by supporters of the measure are that "children enrolled in Healthy Kids reported a 50 percent decline in missed school days due to illness" and, "Once enrolled in Healthy Kids, children with a usual source of care almost doubled and children with unmet medical need dropped by more than half." Simply put, children in the program were healthier.
The County Board of Supervisors has placed Measure A on the November ballot, and it's a coalition of health, business, community and labor leaders who are joining together in universal support of the plan. The program, first launched in 2001 as the Children's Health Care Initiative, needs this funding to continue.
Voters need to consider what supporters of the county parcel tax emphasize: "Without Measure A, thousands of children in Santa Clara County will lose health coverage."
It seems like $29 per year is a small price to pay to make sure that doesn't happen.