Irvine Finance Commissioner Makes Big Mistake on iCHP

We’ve written about the City of Irvine’s iCHP program before.  It’s a terrific program where the city works with several organizations to identify families of limited income and kids under 19 access affordable or even free quality healthcare for their children.  The city works with the Children’s Health Initiative of Orange County and helps them enroll in MediCal, California Kids, Healthy Families, or Kaiser Child Health Plan.  By helping kids get affordable or free health insurance that’s paid for through grants, eligible families can get preventive health care services for children which is considerably cheaper than treating diseases and ailments that are preventable.

City Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett is currently reviewing the city’s budget and posted this message on his Facebook page  Monday night:  It’s not the responsibility of the City of Irvine to provide health care for kids. I’m loving going through this city budget right now.  

He later wrote: This is one of those Suhkee Kang legacy bad ideas that needs to be done away with.

Another of Allan’s friends incorrectly stated that it cost the city four employees at $40K each.

There’s a small problem with Bartlett’s statements.  There are both wrong.

Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett in the red tie

Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett in the red tie

Perhaps it’s an inability to read a budget or grasp the value of preventative care in what it saves taxpayers.  But the program costs the City less than $10,000 a year which is spent most on printing costs and the cost of administering the program is covered by multiple grants secured by city staff.

So what is iCHP all about?  Eligible families, with children under 19, who live in Orange County meet certain monthly income standards based on family size can use one of several plans to get:

  • Full Medical Care
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Mental Health
  • Hospital Care

And a family’s immigration status doesn’t matter.

More than 750 children in Irvine alone are enrolled in this program through the end of 2012 and iCHP has been hailed as one of the most efficient programs in the city.

But the Irvine Republicans just seem to hate the idea of any public money being spent on providing health insurance to kids in families with limited incomes.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway and Council member Christina Shea have both spoken out against these services in the past.  As a mayoral candidate in 2008, Shea was asked by the OC Register what’s the one thing she’d cut from the city’s budget. It was the iCHP program:

From the story:

Q. WATCHDOG: Christina Shea, if you could cut one thing from the budget, what would it be and why?

A. SHEA: “I would cut the I-CHP program (Irvine Children’s Health Program Initiative) proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Sukhee Kang. It costs about $200,000 a year, and pays consultants to go door-to-door to help lower-income people get their children signed up for almost-free healthcare from the state’s Healthy Families and other programs.

To spend money on this in a year when we had to borrow $6.5 million from our reserves to balance the budget – just doesn’t seem right. And we might have to borrow again next year to balance the budget.

Healthy Families is one of the state’s great health care programs for lower income families. But people can go to a local agency in Santa Ana to fill out their own paperwork. Government, in my mind, should not be paying to have people filling out forms. I mean, when are we going to go out to our community and start fixing people’s washers and dryers? There has to be an element of personal responsibility. We shouldn’t be filling out their paperwork; this is the individual’s responsibility and would save the city $200,000. This is a waste of taxpayer money.”

That $200,000 in 2008 is now under $10,000; divide it by the city’s 220,000 residents and the cost per resident is less than a nickel a year.

It’s no surprise that Bartlett serves on the Finance Commission as a Shea appointee.  Perhaps someday should he ever become a father, he’ll appreciate the benefit of preventative health care for kids.  But more immediately, I’m concerned that he lacks the ability to recognize the city doesn’t provided free health insurance to kids.  If he can punt that simple budget line item, what else is he not getting?  And cutting healthcare for poor kids?  Just heartless.

As George Carlin once said of Republicans: “These conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They are all in favor of the unborn, they will do anything for the unborn, but once you’re born, you’re on your own! Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that they don’t want to know about you, they don’t want to hear from you . . . no neo-natal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing! If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re fucked.  Conservatives don’t give a shit about you until you reach military age. Then they think you are just fine, just what they’ve been looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers.”

  16 comments for “Irvine Finance Commissioner Makes Big Mistake on iCHP

  1. Ltpar
    May 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I could be mistaken, but wasn’t this the program that two other Orange County social servicegroups testified about before it was implemented? I believe they indicated they already provided those services and it was not needed? I question your supposition that local government should be providing such services anyway. It is the responsibility of the State and County who receive funds from the Feds to care for such kids. Get used to the cuts Dan, there will be more of them coming in order to balance the budget.

  2. May 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    You miss the real point, LtPar. Republicans, including my own 4 Amigos here in Tustin, either can’t read, won’t read or don’t read the material provided to them by staff. If they did, they would know how little the program costs its citizens. The problem of conservatives living on catch phrases and headlines of the moment is rampant. In our town Tustin, I don’t blame them – they shot themselves when JAmante took his parting shot and eliminated stipends. Why bother reading? Just take staff’s word for it and vote yes so I can get back to my beer.

    Everyday, the Republican politicians show us why the Democrats are winning.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    May 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Read the budget Pat. Nearly a million dollars in anticipated revenue over expected expenditures. Cuts proposed will hurt and Irvine residents won’t like it. Shame on you for thinking poor kids don’t deserve healthcare. Hypocrite

  4. Ltpar
    May 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Dan, quit being a Democrat and spinning everyting I say. I never said poor kids didn’t deserve health care. What I said is that the State and County are already providing those services and it is not the function of the City of Irvine to do so. Until I see the budget in total, I will hold my judgement. With the current Council direction, I am confident that City Manager Sean Joyce will bring in a balanced budget for the first time in four years. To do that, especially with the Larry Agran, three million dollar gift to the schools (Measure BB), some programs had to be cut or eliminated.

  5. Ltpar
    May 10, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Jeff, the Republicans in Irvine and Tustin read just fine. However what you liberals can’t get through your thick heads is that you are no longer running the show. Regardless of the amount of tax dollars involved, it is money wasted if the program is not needed. Since taxpayers are already paying taxes to the State which fund identical programs for children at the State and County levels, local government involvement is not needed. Last time I looked, while the Democrat radicals have a stranglehold on the country at the National and State levels, in Orange County the Republicans still rule. Have another Dos Equis and think about how the most interesting man in the world would deal with this situation.

  6. May 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Why not put it to a vote, the majority of the families that moved to Irvine was because of Irvine’s natural ability to put “Families First”. This is important to us why, because most families move to Irvine because of our schools and our educators.

    Parents voted to protect their family life by moving to and buying homes in a neighborhood that is conducive to families and children. The children are safe, happy and more importantly healthy. It should be the number one priority to take care of our children, particularly, if one or both parents have lost their health insurance during these difficult financial and high unemployment times. Our children needs should be protected, and my belief is that the citizens of Irvine would not allow a child to go hungry, homeless or sick. Have we forgotten, we are a community.

    So Mr. Allen Bartlett, stand up and remember why you moved here, or at the very least ask why your neighbors moved here, FAMILIES FIRST!

    Council members, have you not ever asked for help for your family. Have you ever been in a position where you had to rely on some assistance to protect your kids from being sick, hungry or homeless. Sometimes you have to look elsewhere to reduce the budget and overlook the cost to doing the “right thing”. I know I have discussed other measures that could save money, your stipends come to mind?

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    May 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Private Pat, Jeff is a peace officer and a Libertarian.

  8. Ltpar
    May 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Dan, I respect the hell out of Mr. Gallagher chosen occupation and salute him for his service. As far as political ideology goes, we might not necessarily see eye to eye, and that is ok. I suspect however, that I am closer to him in thought than yourself. While still being a Republican, I am gradually becoming more Anti-government as I see what politicans continue to do to the country. Bottom line is; I support smaller, cost effective and less intrusive government. Put whatever political title you wish to that, except Democrat.

  9. Ltpar
    May 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Katherine, from your comments it is clear that you are slipping back into your Larry Agran mode and that is why you will never be elected to the City Council. People did not move to Irvine to get free medical care for their kids. They did move here because of the schools and the safe community the Police-Citizen Partnership provides. Under your buddies Larry, Beth and Sukhee, the City has run a deficit budget for the last four years in a row and had to tap Reserve Funds to make up the difference. Now, the City saddled with three million in additional gifts to the schools (Measure BB) must try and balance the budget as was promised by the real Republicans who were elected. To do that some fluff programs had to be eliminated. Yes, ICHIP is a fluff program, because it duplicates services already being provided by the State and County. Despite the cuts, the needy kids will be taken care of. From my personal perspective another program that should take a big hit is the Barkley Theater giveway. It is about twenty five years past the time when the City should have quit pumping tax dollars into that black hole. You might not have been around then, but the Theater was originally supposed to be self sufficient in ten years from it’s construction Here we are thirty years later pumping a million dollars into it and getting very little return on our money? There are other programs and positions in the City which should be on the chopping block and I am confident Finance Commissione Allen Bartlett will visit them all. Next time you have lunch with Larry and Beth, please give them my congratulations on now being in the minority.

  10. May 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Ltpar

    Why can’t you get past the fact that I am a Conservative with compassion and I care about our children, all of them.

    Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, children have to come fiirst and if there is one child that goes without healthcare because the parents lost their health insurance and Irvine has this program, it is important to put it in front of the voter. Remember it is our TAX dollars not just yours and not just the ones with the “D’s” or “R’s” in front of them.

  11. Dan Chmielewski
    May 11, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Pat, per your argument, why do we need a local police force? We have state police and a county sheriff that can investigate crime and write traffic tickets. Your argument doesn’t hold up.

    And didn’t you read all those emails between Daigle and Shea that pretty much be dunked the theory Daigle was an Agran plant? Love how your party eats its own.

  12. Ltpar
    May 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Dan, we need a local Police Department because the Sheriff and State do not provide services to Irvine. As such, there is no duplication of effort or cost involved. With ICHIP, the State and County were already providing services to Irvine residents, there was duplication and the program was not needed. Sorry amigo, it is your argument that doesn’t hold up.

    Didn’t read any e-mails between Shea and Daigle. While you and Daigle both deny her duplicity, the facts say otherwise. She entered a close race knowing she was taking votes from the Republican Party endorsed candidate (Choi). She accepted campaign money and support from Larry Agran operators. If Daigle had been the kind of candidate who had her act together, she could have served her prupose and gotten enough votes to give Agran the election.

    While I am a registered Republican, that is where my relationship with the Party ends. They have never supported me in anything, the leadership shortcomings are apparent and yes you are right, they do eat their own. In fact I am on their “No Christmas Card” list because of my vocal comments about their sorry City Council members in Costa Mesa. I may well change my registration to Independent before the next election. Daigle has about as much of a chance getting a future Republican Party endorsement as myself, if I were ever stupid enough to run again. Both of us will be watching politics from the sidelines and that is fine by me.

  13. Ltpar
    May 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Kathrine, you call yourself a conservative Republican, yet you worked to keep the endorsed candidate, Steven Choi from being elected. Since you never had a snowballs chance in hell of being elected, a person doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the duplicity in your campaign. Fortunately, it did not work and the mighty Agranistas took a beating at the polls.

    Your idea of putting a small potatoes budget item on the ballot for people to vote on is just another example of why you are not qulified to serve on the Council. People elect Council Members to make decisions on running local government, establishing a cost effective budget and setting priorities for services. Since the ICHIP Program is a duplication of services, it is not needed. What other decisions would you like people to vote on? Perhaps the Barcley Theater or some of the Agranista Green Programs? Wake up and smell the coffee Katherine, serving on the Council means that you have to make the tough decisions and the “buck stops with you.”

  14. May 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Ltpar,

    It is my intent to run against people who do not represent the people, these elected officials are elected only because they have the money to drown out another’s voice. It is my right as a citizen and a resident of Irvine to run as a conservative opponent.

    I will not be bullied by those who see fit to shut me up. They now know they have no other choice but hang on to the lie they reported and move forward into 2014. However, I will not back down, I will not go away, I will run again.

    As far as experience, no I do not have years and years of experience as those who have held city counsel seats for the last 20 years. What is needed is fresh new ideas, ideas that actually represent the voices of the people.

    Remember, I did receive votes, not as much as the long, long term incumbents. Therefore, the most I can do is continue to raise my voice and I will be heard.

  15. Dan Chmielewski
    May 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Pat, go back and read the old posts with PDFs with the emails between Daigle and Shea. No reasonable person would deny Daigle is a Republican. Hate to break it to you, but she got 12 percent of the vote. Choi didn’t top 50percent and Daigle likely hurt Agran more than Choi. Shea threaten Daigle with a lawsuit if she kept speaking to the press. But if she did sue, her case would be without merit.

  16. Dan Chmielewski
    May 13, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    More importantly, we have a conservative finance commissioner who lacks the skills to read a budget

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