The California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal) is formulated to help low-income individuals, including families, seniors, people with disabilities, etc. This program includes people whose income level is lower than 138% of the federal poverty level and supports services like ambulances, hospitalization, maternity, and many more emergency services. Over 13 million Californians (one in three) benefit from Medi-Cal. Effective May 1, 2022, this program now includes full coverage to people ages 50 and over regardless of their immigration status.
A Giant Leap
Health is undoubtedly precious. Indeed, it is essential to our everyday functioning and overall wellbeing. Without proper health insurance, however, even basic treatment would be prohibitively expensive, especially for low-income individuals and families. Medi-Cal strives hard to make healthcare benefits accessible for those in need.
To further expand the reach of this indispensable program, Governor Newsom formulated a bill that took effect this past spring that allows people 50 years old and above who meet the necessary income criteria to enjoy the full benefits of Medi-Cal without having to meet any immigration requirements. This change extended these comprehensive benefits to another 235,000 residents of California, which is a giant leap towards ensuring the right to healthcare for all Californians.
As the world has vividly seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, disparities in access to and quality of healthcare are serious humanitarian issues. Many individuals have been disproportionately affected by the virus and have had limited access to healthcare facilities and vaccines. The Medi-Cal expansion now at least provides relief to adult and senior immigrants in California and gives them the confidence to face any health issues that come their way.
Medi-Cal Benefits All
A survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that two-thirds of California’s people supported tax-paid healthcare for immigrants without any legal check. This is up from 54% surveyed in 2015.
This recent expansion benefitting senior immigrants will cost $1.3 billion a year. The state of California will bear the entire cost of expansion, demonstrating its commitment to the health of its people. When we are all healthy, we can each thrive and contribute to the greater flourishing of our society as a whole.
With the current Medi-Cal system, young immigrants are taken care of up to the age of 26, and immigrants over 50 now benefit more fully. Although there is still be a gap for people aged 26 to 29, lawmakers are seeking a way to remove immigration as a barrier to the eligibility requirements for these Californians as well.