Medi-Cal Expansion in California Brings Health Coverage to Undocumented Immigrants of All Ages

Medi-Cal Expansion in California Brings Health Coverage to Undocumented Immigrants of All Ages
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

Health coverage to undocumented immigrants

California is set to embark on an unprecedented expansion of its Medi-Cal program, providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants of all ages, marking a significant milestone in the state's decades-long efforts to extend healthcare access.

Starting January 1, 2024, Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program for extremely low-income individuals, will include undocumented immigrants, making California one of the pioneering states to offer such extensive healthcare support. This expansion follows the state's previous steps in 2015, when then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law making undocumented children eligible for state insurance.

Democratic-led Legislature commits over $4 billion

This latest expansion, spearheaded by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic-led Legislature, commits over $4 billion annually to Medi-Cal. Despite the state grappling with a $68 billion deficit, advocates emphasize the immeasurable positive impact this move will have on individual health.

The effort resonates deeply with those involved, including Perla Lopez, who, herself undocumented, played a crucial role in assisting individuals like Baudeilio, a 44-year-old day laborer, with their Medi-Cal applications. Lopez highlights the stress relief this brings to individuals with health issues, emphasizing the significant difference Medi-Cal can make.

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