Photo by Fran Jacquier via Unsplash

California Gov. Newsom (D) and his legislature amended the 2021-22 State Budget on June 28 to include Californians in the Medi-Cal healthcare plan, regardless of their immigration status. 

The expansion has been in the works in this iteration since the May Revision to the Governor’s Budget. For years, California Democrats have been pushing Gov. Newsom to expand Medicaid to all undocumented immigrants. As the number of voters in support of healthcare for undocumented immigrants rose among California voters, the pressure to take legislative action rose as well. 

Making no headway towards healthcare for all undocumented immigrants despite popular support, Sen. María Elena Durazo (D) and Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D) decided to join forces and push for Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) for all undocumented immigrants above 50. Arambula would work on a separate section pushing for healthcare for all undocumented adults.  

As COVID-19 exposed the cracks in a society where the elderly and undocumented are the most vulnerable combined with constituent support, it created the perfect place for the expansion to be proposed and passed. 

The section in the budget summary dedicated to the Medi-Cal expansion is titled “Building an Age-Friendly State for Older Individuals.” The summary  describes the negative environment the pandemic created for the elderly and minorities, making it clear that California needs to move complement parts of California’s Master Plan for Aging as soon as possible. 

The revision’s first proposal is to expand Medi-Cal coverage to older adults, stating that “the May Revision includes $69 million ($50 million General Fund) in 2021-22 and $1 billion ($859 million General Fund) ongoing to expand Medi-Cal, including In-Home Supportive Services, to undocumented adults aged 60 and older effective no sooner than May 1, 2022.”

According to Cal Matters, “the Legislature wanted to offer it to those age 50 and up. A key sticking point: Covering health care for more people commits the state to ongoing spending that it might not be able to afford in a future recession.”

The budget was officially voted in on June 28. 

Scriberr News reached out to the office of Gov. Newsom and the Department of Healthcare Services of California. Neither responded at the time of publication. 

Written ByCynthia Zelaya

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