Earlier today the California Senate passed SB4 #Health4All on a historic bipartisan vote, 28-11, with all Democratic Senators and 2 Republican Senators voting in support. The bill moves on to the Assembly Health Committee for consideration.

With last week’s amendments in the Senate Appropriations Committee, SB 4 would:

  • expand Medi-Cal eligibility regardless of immigration status to kids (age 0-19) as an entitlement;
  • expand coverage for adults as budget allocations will allow (not an entitlement, which means that enrollment will be capped when funding runs out).
  • by way of a Section 1332 waiver (formal request to the federal government), SB 4 would allow people to purchase coverage through Covered California using their own money.

As noted in bill author Ricardo Lara’s closing comments, California has been a leader on Affordable Care Act implementation. With passage of SB4, California has taken the next bold step towards truly universal coverage, towards a more responsive and efficient health care system that leaves no one behind. This is one of many reasons why SB 4 is a top priority for Health Access and many consumer health and advocacy groups.

“Immigrants contribute 1.30 billion to our GDP,” said Lara.  And when they show up for care, too little, too late, in the E.R., they add $1.4 billion to that cost.

“While this bill now costs a fraction of last year’s effort, it would ensure every child in every classroom and neighborhood is covered,” said Health Access Executive Director Anthony Wright, “and it would start the process to cover their family members as well.” “If we can ensure that all Californians have access to primary and preventive care, adds Wright, “we advance the effort to improve the quality and reduce the cost of health system on which we all depend on.”

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