"Healthy Families" Cuts

Fresno, CA The recession has devastated Tout Tou Bounthapanya and her family. She's an immigrant who graduated from college. But she lost her job and depends on state sponsored health care. Bounthapanya said, "Because I use to be independent. I use to not be in any programs. I use to be independent ... If I apply for public programs, I'm not qualified like Medicare. If I apply for private market, it's too expensive. I can not afford them."

Bounthapanya is a recipient of "Healthy Families", a state program that provides affordable health care to working families. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate the program to help solve a $24-billion budget deficit.

Advocates like Reverend Sharon Stanley protested the cuts on Thursday in front of a West Fresno clinic. Stanely said, "We should not solve the budget crisis on the backs of the poorest we have in our county or any county around the state."

Doctors at Clinica Sierra Vista say "/*Healthy Families*/" actually saves money by providing preventative care and keeping people out of already crowded emergency rooms. Doctor Juan Carlos Ruvalcaba said, "It's a lot more expensive. I believe it's 10 times more expensive than coming to a primary care doctor ... They can wait up to 8-10 hours and take beds that real emergencies need to be taken care of."

Bounthapanya now wonders if her boys will lead healthy lives without the "Healthy families" program.

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