May 13, 2022
Los Angeles – Governor Gavin Newsom’s May revision of the proposed state budget today doubled down on a groundbreaking proposal to make California the first state to make Health4All a reality for all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status. The Governor’s 2022-23 State Budget proposal would close the gap in coverage for undocumented Californians ages 26-49, the last remaining age group to be excluded from accessing full-scope Medi-Cal. It would go into effect January 1, 2024.
The #Health4All coalition, consisting of over 180 groups committed to health and racial justice, celebrates this historic step and will work to ensure it stays in the final budget. The coalition is calling for earlier implementation to help our community and family members who need access to care immediately, and is also advocating to prevent anyone from losing Medi-Cal coverage, like those who may “age out” when they turn 26.
The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated historical inequities within our healthcare system, and highlighted the risk to our society when we exclude our neighbors from the programs they need to care for themselves, their families, and their communities. Our state—and the entire health care system— is stronger when every Californian, regardless of age or where they were born, has access to the resources they need to be well and thrive.
As we continue to remove exclusions to critical safety net programs for all Californians, the Health4All coalition is committed to ensuring that these policy changes are implemented in a clear and equitable fashion, and that all eligible individuals are able to enroll without interruption.
Adrienne, a Southern California resident, said “I came to the U.S. 15 years ago as a single mom and learned to navigate the complicated healthcare system by myself. Having access to healthcare meant that I was able to take care of myself and my daughter. Even though my daughter does not have current immigration status, she is able to receive full-scope Medi-Cal because of #Health4AllKids and YoungAdults. Passing #Health4All this year in the Governor’s Budget would mean that she does not have to face the same hardships I did when she turns 26 and ages out of the current system.”
“Growing up in California’s border region, I know all too well the devastating impact that unequal access to critical life-saving services has on our state’s families and communities. Today, California took another promising step towards righting a historic wrong by eliminating the racist exclusion of immigrant Californians from accessing full-scope Medi-Cal. But the fight is far from over,” said Alexis Castro, Government Affairs Director at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC). “All Californians, regardless of immigration status, still need access to basic necessities like unemployment benefits and food assistance – support that hundreds of thousands of our neighbors continue to be excluded from. We urge Governor Newsom to keep this promise on Health4All in his final budget, and we look forward to celebrating this victory alongside our partners across the state and using this momentum to ensure a California that works for all.”
“We are thankful of the Governor’s leadership in continuing to support removing immigration status as a barrier to eligibility in Medi-Cal and including it in his May revision proposal. We have made great progress the last few years to get to this point and address the final barrier so that everyone regardless of immigration status can receive health care coverage if they qualify for Medi-Cal,” said Jose Torres, Policy and Legislative Advocate at Health Access California. “Everyone benefits when everyone is covered. There is a lot of work ahead and through Health4All, we are making progress in building a more inclusive health care system and a California for All.”
“With the inclusion of Medi-Cal for all eligible Californians regardless of immigration status in the Governor’s revised budget, we are one step closer to ending the outdated and discriminatory policy that prevents undocumented Californians from accessing affordable health care,” said California State Senator María Elena Durazo (24th District). “This is a victory for the millions of undocumented Californians who do so much for our state day in and day out, yet continue to be treated like second-class members of our society. It’s a victory for the advocates and organizers who have spent years working to make Health for All a reality. And it’s a victory for California as a whole – we will all be better off once every single Californian is able to access the healthcare they need.”
“Today, the Governor solidified the commitment he made in January to expand full scope Medi-Cal to income-eligible adults 26 to 49. This is the crucial last step to ensure that every eligible individual in California can obtain Medi-Cal coverage. It cannot be overstated how transformative this will be for hundreds of thousands of people in our most vulnerable communities, especially as we witnessed how the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately killed and harmed Latinos and other ethnic minorities,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, 31st District. “While I celebrate this milestone with so many of our health and immigration advocates, there still is much work to do. We must make sure that young adults turning 26 during the transition remain covered, and we still want Assembly Bill 4 (Arambula) — which is the legislative guarantee of this coverage — to be signed into law.”
“I am an undocumented Health4All advocate directly impacted by this campaign. Thanks to our coalition’s work, I was able to access full-scope Medi-Cal in 2020 and get support treating my depression, but turning 26 earlier this year threw my health coverage status into limbo once again. My mental healthcare affects every aspect of my life and my family’s. Passing Health4All with no age-outs, so that young adults without current immigration status don’t continue to fall through the cracks, is crucial to helping California families and communities heal and take care of themselves–and each other,” said Beatriz Hernandez, Central Valley Organizing Fellow at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC).
“As other states attempt to roll back access to health care, California is taking historic steps to ensure all of its low-income residents have access to its Medi-Cal program regardless of their immigration status. All undocumented adults must gain access to Medi-Cal without further delays, and without any gaps in coverage for young individuals up to age 26, who are currently covered, but may be subject to age outs prior to opening the program up to all. This urgent and exciting change is well overdue, and needed now. We look forward to working with the Governor, legislature, advocates, and those most impacted to expand access to care,” said Ronald Coleman, Managing Director of Policy, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.
“We applaud the Governor for supporting another expansion of Health4All to ensure everyone can access healthcare, regardless of immigration status. However, by failing to secure an earlier implementation date of this final expansion, California risks worsening health outcomes for the most disenfranchised community members. The Latinx community experienced the most deaths throughout the pandemic and continues to experience economic losses and health hardship during the recovery phase. As we move closer to universal coverage, we know this is a matter of justice and health equity. We urge the Governor to implement this final expansion as soon as possible to ensure health equity in our state,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.
“Western Center is thrilled that California continues to lead the way with the proposal to expand full-scope Medi-Cal to all income-eligible adults regardless of immigration status. The pandemic demonstrates the urgency for expanding health coverage to all — we look forward to working with the legislature and administration to implement as soon as possible,” said Linda Nguy, Senior Policy Advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
“This victory is a testament to decades of advocacy from immigrants in California and further cements the state’s role as a leader in promoting the health of our communities. This pandemic has laid bare the inequities in our healthcare system while underscoring how our collective wellbeing is deeply connected to the health of one another. We hope and expect more states will follow the example of California, because when everyone can get the health care they need, whole communities benefit,” said Jenny Rejeske, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).