doctor wearing a white coat and holding a stethoscope Online Marketing on Unsplash

doctor wearing a white coat and holding a stethoscope by Online Marketing on Unsplash

Beginning Jan 1, for the first time, undocumented immigrants of all ages will qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for extremely low-income people. It makes California the only state to fund comprehensive health care for undocumented immigrants… (CalMatters)

…”This is the culmination of literally decades of work, and it’s huge,” said Sarah Darr, policy director for the California Immigrant Policy Center. “It’s huge because of all the work and effort and advocacy that went into making this possible, and it’s also because of the impact that it’s going to have.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s Democratic-led Legislature have committed more than $4 billion to the Medi-Cal expansion annually. Newsom’s 2022 budget made the expansion possible, and through the state is now headed into a $68 billion deficit, advocates say the positive impact Medi-Cal will have an individual health is priceless…

…The California Immigrant Policy Center along with consumer advocacy group Health Access California have been the leading force in the campaign to eliminate citizenship requirements for Medi-Cal. The work was not easy even in left-leaning California. Many moderate Democrats voted against the legislation or refrained from weighing in on the debate in the early days, but slowly, public opinion and political will shifted.

California will welcome the new year by becoming the first state to offer health insurance for all undocumented immigrants. (ABC News)

Starting January 1, all undocumented immigrants, regardless of age, will qualify for Medi-Cal, California’s version of the federal Medicaid program for people with low incomes.

Previously, undocumented immigrants were not qualified to receive comprehensive health insurance but were allowed to receive emergency and pregnancy-related services under Medi-Cal as long as they met eligibility requirements, including income limits and California residency in 2014.

The 2015, undocumented children were able to join Medi-Cal under a bill signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law an expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal access for young adults ages 19 through 25, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Access was then further expanded to allow older adults aged 50 and older to receive benefits, also regardless of immigration status.

The final expansion going into effect Jan. 1 will make approximately 700,000 undocumented residents between 26 and 49 eligible for full coverage, according to California State Sen. María Elena Durazo.

As a Californian, I think this program to enable undocumented immigrants access to Medi-Cal is an excellent idea. Everyone needs access to health care, no matter who they are or where they come from. One of the best things about California is the government really makes an effort to provide care to the people who live here.

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