The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California Doesn’t Provide Healthcare for Working Class Children

Apr 8, 2024

California ranks 46th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for providing preventive care visits for kids five and under, according to a 2022 federal government survey.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2021, 60% of babies did not get their critically needed doctor visits in the first 15 months of their life; 65% of 2-year-olds were not fully vaccinated; half of children did not receive a lead screening by their second birthday, which is crucial in providing healthcare for brain development; and 71% of children did not receive their recommended developmental screening in their first three years.

This is not because of a lack of health insurance coverage. On paper, 97% of California’s children have health insurance. Then, how is the healthy development of more than half of California’s youngest residents, including 1.4 million children ages five and under, critically undermined?

The main reason is that the families of these children are poorly paid workers. Most of these workers are insured under the State of California’s Medi-Cal program for low-income residents, California’s version of Medicaid. Because Medi-Cal pays doctors far less than other insurers, these workers have difficulty finding doctors or hospitals that accept Medi-Cal insurance.

About 11 million Californians live in a primary care shortage area where there are few if any pediatricians. Or they live in rural agricultural areas and can’t afford the costs or time off work for an hour-long drive to reach a hospital. Babies and toddlers need yearly healthcare visits, and parents can’t make this happen.

These workers turn California into one of the wealthiest regions in the world. These are farm workers who produce almost all the country’s almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, walnuts, and another 400 agriculture products. Other workers make California a leading technological force worldwide by working in plants to manufacture technological marvels like Tesla’s electric cars and Apple’s iPhones.

So, the very rich who run California and its businesses keep their workers in third-world conditions, condemning these workers’ children to a future of poor health.