For immediate release: Tuesday, May 28, 2019
For more information, contact:
Rachel Linn Gish, Health Access California, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-532-2128 (cell)
Carolina Gamero, California Immigrant Policy Center, email@example.com, 310-893-9038 (cell)
#HEALTH4ALL ADULTS BILL PASSES CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY
California Assembly advances a proposal to cover all residents, regardless of immigration status for the first time in CA history
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the California State Assembly voted to pass AB 4 (Arambula, Bonta, Chiu, Santiago, Gonzalez) taking a crucial step towards ending the unfair exclusion of Californians from Medi-Cal due to their immigration status. With a final vote of 51-16, this marks the first time that a proposal to make health care accessible to all income-eligible undocumented residents has gone to a floor vote in the CA legislature.
A top priority for immigrant rights and health care advocates this year, AB 4 would expand Medi-Cal coverage to approximately 1.4 million Californians.
“With today’s vote, the Assembly has brought hope to immigrant Californians across the state who for too long have been locked out of life-saving health care,” said Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, a co-chair of the #Health4All campaign and co-sponsor of AB 4. “With representatives from every region of California voting to expand health care to all Californians, momentum is undeniably growing to address this long-standing injustice – especially for undocumented elders. We hope the Assembly’s wise action today continues to inspire compassion and courage.”
“We greatly appreciate the growing legislative support to remove the exclusions in Medi-Cal based on immigration status. Toward this goal of health for all Californians, we hope our state policymakers also take big steps in the budget negotiations this year, by covering more young adults and seniors,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, a co-chair of the #Health4All campaign and co-sponsor of AB 4. “Expanding Medi-Cal will not just benefit the individual Californians, but bolster the health and financial vitality of their families, their communities, and our whole state.”
Currently, a significant number of Californians are working and raising families without access to preventative care, prescription drugs or doctor visits due to federal eligibility exclusions. The lack of care exacerbates a physical and mental health crisis created by a number of federal policies that continue to attack immigrant families.
Following the success of #Health4AllKids, which since 2016 has ensured coverage of over 270,000 children in Medi-Cal, AB 4 aims to expand this access to all income-eligible adults. Ensuring #Health4All families and vulnerable communities, such as undocumented elders, is necessary to moving California closer to achieving the goal of health insurance coverage for all Californians.
#Health4All is gaining steam in all branches of California’s government. Governor Newsom has proposed an expansion to young adults up to age 26 in his state budget – the first Governor of any state to do so. The California State Senate has also proposed an expansion to young adults, as well as to undocumented seniors, a priority for California’s immigrant families.
Members of the #Health4All campaign support these steps, as well as endorsing a plan to get to coverage for all adults in the next few years.
AB 4 now heads to the State Senate for policy hearings.