California Governor Schwarzenegger recently signed a bill (SB 564) to fund school-based health centers that will provide primary and associated care to K-12 students. According to the trade association (!) that lobbied for the bill, California currently has 153 school-based health centers, which appear to be mostly funded by local government.
SB 564 is their lobbyists’ first success at winning direct funding from state government. Well, sort of: the river of cash will still need an appropriations bill to start flowing, and that’s questionable given the state’s perpetual budget crisis.
This bill invites serious questioning from various angles. First, if school-based health centers are effective, then the state should not be taxing people to fund them. Instead, it should be up to local governments.
Second, if kids need primary care that they don’t get from doctors, then the state should not be competing against convenient, retail clinics, that are springing up to serve communities’ needs.
Third, if parents need financial assistance to get primary health care for their kids, then the state should fund the parents, not the providers, especially from distant Sacramento.
Fourth, California’s K-12 school system can’t even school the kids properly. Almost one half of freshmen admitted to California State University campuses require remedial classes!
Come on! I’m sure these lobbyists for the school-based health centers have our kids’ best interests at heart, but if our schools can’t even get education right, do they really expect us to believe that they can get our kids’ health care right?