Celebrating the Expansion of Medi-Cal – California Health Care Foundation

Illustration of people of various ethnicities and genders
Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that will allow all Californians with low incomes between the ages of 26 and 49 to enroll in Medi-Cal — the state’s Medicaid program — regardless of their immigration status. When this takes effect by January 2024, all Californians with low incomes will be eligible for Medi-Cal.
The governor and the state legislature have taken a vital step forward in improving Californians’ access to health care coverage. Not since California implemented the Affordable Care Act have we taken such bold action to make our health care system more just and equitable. This coverage expansion is grounded in the belief that all Californians benefit when everyone gets the care they need to keep themselves and their families healthy.
Under this new policy, close to 700,000 Californians will no longer be shut out of our health care system. These Californians are our family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, parents, and community members. As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, many work in essential and high-risk jobs and have contributed their labor and tax dollars to this state for years.
To deliver on the promise of Medi-Cal, we must double down on efforts to strengthen outreach, enrollment, and navigation so newly eligible Californians can enroll without delay or hesitation by 2024. We must continue the commitment to ensuring that all Medi-Cal enrollees have timely access to high-quality care.
The state has moved closer to a future when Californians will be more likely to get the health care they need regardless of the color of their skin, where they were born, or the size of their paycheck. For that, we should all celebrate.
Sandra R. Hernández, MD, is president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. Prior to joining CHCF, Sandra was CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, which she led for 16 years. She previously served as director of public health for the City and County of San Francisco. She also cochaired San Francisco’s Universal Healthcare Council, which designed Healthy San Francisco. It was the first time a local government in the US attempted to provide health care for all of its constituents. Read More

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© 2022 California Health Care Foundation

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