Extending Health Coverage to Seniors and Undocumented Immigrants - New Developments in CA Health Policy
CaHPSA E-Newsletter ∙ Volume 2, Issue 11 ∙ May 2021

Hello health justice advocates,

          Firstly, we would like to wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day! In our shared passion for #Health4All, we know that health equity and justice cannot be achieved until we have equal health access  for our parents, including parents who are seniors or who are undocumented. 

         For this reason, this month, we are highlighting new health policy developments, centered around extending health access to our first guardians, our parents. 

Up first is Assembly Bill 4 (AB 4). This bill, authored by State Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, will extend full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to undocumented adults age 19 and older, who otherwise already qualify for Medi-Cal (except for immigration status). This bill was introduced in December 2020, and will now advance to a third reading and vote after being passed by the Assembly's Health Committee on 5/20/21. Click here for more details, and to track this bill's progress through the Assembly. 

Similarly, Senate Bill 56, authored by state Senator Maria Elena Durazo, extends full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to undocumented individuals 25 years of age or younger, who are already eligible for limited scope Medi-Cal. Click here to track SB 56 progress through the California State Senate.

In other exciting news, Governor Gavin Newsom included funding to extend Medi-Cal coverage to seniors above age 65, regardless of immigration status, in a budget proposal this month. Although the change is slated to go into effect May 2022,  if passed in the Legislature, this is a huge development for health equity! It would make California the second state in the U.S. to extend coverage to undocumented seniors, after Illinois. For more information, you can follow this story here.

New Developments this May, 2021
AB 4: extends full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to undocumented adults age 19+. 
SB 56: extends full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to undocumented adults age 25+. 
AB 570: extends private insurance overseen by CA to dependent parents of covered individuals, regardless of age. 
May 2022: If passed, California State Budget will include funding to extend Medi-Cal coverage to seniors age 65+, regardless of documented immigration status. 

          Finally,  AB 570 is a groundbreaking new policy in the works. Authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, this bill would allow children who are covered by California-state regulated health plans (including private insurance) to extend coverage to their dependent parents. This is important, especially for continuity of care for an older population with a higher risk and burden of illness. Such a law would also potentially allow vulnerable immigrants, who are still in the 5-year waiting period to become eligible for Medi-Cal or Medicare benefits, an avenue for access to care in the meantime. California is the first state to propose such legislation, and this would be a historic win if passed into law.  AB 570 was approved by the California Assembly's Health Committee on May 24th, 2021, and is now pending a vote by the Assembly.  Additional information and progress on AB 570 can be found here.

          These are just a few of the health policy reforms that are on the horizon in our golden state of California. Much of this important, significant progress has only been possible through healthcare advocates like you, who passionately raise awareness, insist on having their voices heard, and who continue to stand up for vulnerable community members. For that, we thank you, and we are eager to continue progress and action with you! 

California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA)

Events coming up:
Pre-Health Dreamers presents the First Annual Pre-Health Dreamers Conference! 


Click on the image above to purchase your tickets! 
Conference Facebook Page (Click here)

California Physician's Alliance presents: Celebrating Medicare's 56th Anniversary! 
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California Health Professional Student Alliance
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