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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on July 27 making California the first state in the nation to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to low income adults 50 or older, regardless of immigration status. Newsom said it was a major milestone in the state’s progress toward universal health coverage.
The health care trailer bill, AB 133, makes changes toward implementing a more equitable and prevention-focused approach to health care through expanded behavioral health initiatives supporting youth and people with severe behavioral health challenges, including unhoused individuals. It also extends Medi-Cal eligibility for individuals who have recently given birth, supports continued telehealth programs and advances the state’s CalAIM initiative.
“We’re investing California’s historic surplus to accomplish transformative changes we’ve long dreamed of, including this historic Medi-Cal expansion to ensure thousands of older undocumented Californians, many of whom have been serving on the front lines of the pandemic, can access critical health care services,” Newsom said. “I thank the Legislature for its steadfast partnership to bring California closer to universal health care coverage and advance comprehensive initiatives to ensure California’s communities come back from the pandemic stronger and healthier than before.”
Under Assembly Bill 133, approximately 235,000 Californians ages 50 and older are now eligible for Medi-Cal, including preventive services, long-term care and in-home supportive services. In 2019, California became the first state to extend Medi-Cal coverage to all eligible undocumented young adults up to the age of 26. AB 133 also extends the Medi-Cal postpartum care period from 60 days to 12 months without requiring a mental health diagnosis, including for eligible undocumented Californians.
Newsom also highlighted the state’s multi-pronged strategy to reach communities with low vaccination rates and first-in-the-nation measures to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week. Local governments and businesses are encouraged to adopt similar measures amid the growing threat of the Delta variant.
Newsom added that AB 133 implements an important component of the California Comeback Plan’s $12 billion homelessness package.
For information, visit leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
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