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SACRAMENTO (AP) - California lawmakers will begin hearings this week into how the state will end a health program serving more than 860,000 children without disrupting care.

The state budget enacted this year eliminates Healthy Families to save $73 million a year. Its participants will be moved to Medi-Cal, California's version of the Medicaid program for the poor.

Healthy Families benefits low-income families who did not qualify for Medi-Cal. A top concern is whether health care providers will be willing to accept the new patients because they were reimbursed at a higher rate under Healthy Families.

They could receive 15 percent less under Medi-Cal. California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley says she believes enough health providers will be willing to care for the children at the reduced rates.

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