ALERT: Your Health or Your Home?

HEALTH ACCESS ALERT: Friday, September 12, 2014


*        Key bills on the Governor’s desk–Governor Brown has month of September to sign or veto bills including SB1124(Hernandez), to limit Medi-Cal “estate recovery” to long term care–so signing up for Medi-Cal managed care doesn’t put the family home at risk.

*       CALL (916-445-2841), E-MAIL or TWEET GOVERNOR BROWN to urge signing of SB1124 and reward responsibility, so low-income families aren’t penalized for doing the right thing: meeting the mandate and signing up for coverage, saving up and buying a home.

*        COMING NEXT WEEK: Call-in Days for SB 964 (Hernandez) to ensure network adequacy and timely access to care for all managed care patients, including those in Medi-Cal and Covered California.

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Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto several critical health and consumer protection bills, including SB1124 (Hernandez), a crucial bill that protects California families from having to choose between their health and their home.

SB1124 (Hernandez) would limit Medi-Cal “estate recovery” to long-term care, so the state collects only what is required under federal law, aligned with 40 other states. Current California policy places a lien on the assets of Medi-Cal managed care patients 55 and over–discouraging them for signing up for coverage, even as there is no such repayment expected of those higher-income families getting assistance in Covered California.

SB1124 rewards personal responsibility for those Californians who do the right thing by meeting the mandate to sign up for health coverage, and who save and buy a home despite limited incomes. A wide range of consumer, health, low-income, senior, and community organizations–and editorials from the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers–are urging Governor Brown to sign the bill.


1.      Calls are best: (916) 445-2841. Give the name of the bill you are calling about first and a simple statement of support (1-2 sentences max). For example:

My name is ______ and I’m calling to ask you to please sign SB1124 (“Limit on Medi-Cal Estate Recovery”) into law. No one should have put the family home at risk just to get help with their medical costs.

2.    Email the Governor at: .
– Choose the right bill (ex: SB1124) under “Please choose your subject.”

– Fill out the form carefully (note that the ‘con’ button comes before the pro button!)

You can include a few sentences in this email form, but keep your statement brief, as in this example:

“Please sign SB1124 into law. My in-laws, both in their late 50s, have worked hard all of their lives, but now they have jobs that do not provide health insurance. They refuse to sign up for Medi-Cal because they don’t want to put the family home at risk. If they do end up in the E.R, doesn’t Medi-Cal have to pay that bill anyway?”

3.    Tweet today! and though the end of September. Here are a few suggestions, but make your own!

·       CA should not keep low-income Californians in poverty for having Medi-Cal. Ask @JerryBrownGov to sign SB1124 #SaveMyFamilyHome

·       Medi-Cal should be a safety net program – not a long-term loan program. @JerryBrownGov sign SB1124 #SaveMyFamilyHome

·       Reward responsibility: Don’t force CA families to choose between their health and their home. @JerryBrownGov sign SB1124 #SaveMyFamilyHome

4. Share Your Stories!

If you have been directly impacted by any of the circumstances above, please share your story with us at by clicking on the “Share Your Story” icon or call (916) 497-0923.


Paul and his wife, both age 62, are between jobs and uninsured. When they went to sign up for coverage on Covered California, they learned they qualify for Medi-Cal but that the  state would go after their home or other assets after their death. “We didn’t work for 30 years to pay off our mortgage, to hand it over to the state. Our home needs to go to our children. This is blatant age discrimination. The policy should have failed on this alone. Because of this I did not sign up for Medi-Cal.”

Many low-income Californians age 55 and older are reluctant to enroll in Medi-Cal because they are afraid the state will ‘recover’ their house when they die. The federal government requires states to recover against the estates of Medi-Cal beneficiaries age 55 and older, but only for long term care services such as nursing home care. Yet California is one of only ten states that collects for all medical care, including premiums paid to a health plan.


Thank you for your efforts in support of this important piece of legislation. Questions about the bill can be directed to Health Access, or to Linda Nguy (, Legislative Advocate at Western Center on Law and Poverty, a co-sponsor of SB1124(Hernandez) with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.