Bills would extend state’s low-income Medi-Cal program to all Californians age 65 and over and 25 and under
SACRAMENTO, CA – The California legislature approved two bills in separate votes on Wednesday, May 30 that extend health coverage to all residents age 65 and over and 25 and under who qualify for low-income assistance – including the state’s undocumented residents.
Health4All Elders and Young Adults extends Medi-Cal coverage to include doctor’s visits and preventive care for qualifying California residents at and below the federal poverty level, currently $33,000 a year for a family of four.
Senate Bill 974 (Lara) expands Medi-Cal eligibility to all California residents age 65 and over.
Assembly Bill 2965 (Arambula) extends Medi-Cal to all residents age 25 and younger.
“Being able to go to the doctor is something most of us take for granted when we get older, but thousands of California seniors have to rely on emergency rooms and last-minute care,” said Lara. “SB 974 guarantees all of our elders the same basic right to healthcare, regardless of where they were born. Our seniors have worked their whole lives, raised families, and paid their share in taxes, and Washington politics should not decide who gets healthcare in California. We are better than that.”
In 2016, California began offering health coverage to undocumented children, as part of the Health4All Kids effort to offer preventive care and doctor visits to those under age 19. Nearly 250,000 children now have full medical coverage as a result.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of uninsured Californians has fallen to a historic low of 7 percent. Undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $3.2 billion annually in state and local taxes, but those at the poverty level are still barred from access to preventive care and doctor visits.
SB 974 would extend coverage to nearly 30,000 California residents age 65 or over.
AB 2965 would cover young adults up to age 26 – matching the Affordable Care Act guarantee.
Supporters spoke at a press conference before the vote about the benefits of expanding health coverage to young adults.
“As a doctor, I don’t ask if a patient is a U.S. citizen, or a permanent resident, or has documentation. I treat everyone the same. This is the way we are trained as doctors and this is the way that we provide our best care,” said Dr. Ian Kim, a family doctor at UC Davis. “We know that when more people have access to healthcare, everyone is better off.”