For immediate release: Wednesday, May 29, 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 YOUNG ADULTS AND SENIORS PASSES CA STATE SENATE
California Senate advances a proposal to provide health care access to over 175,000 income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the California State Senate voted to pass SB 29 (Durazo) which builds on successful expansions in Medi-Cal to cover thousands more Californians who have been excluded from our health care system solely due to immigration status. After nearly an hour of debate on the Senate floor, the final vote of 24-11 shows strong support for making our health care system more equitable for more Californians.
SB 29 removes the unfair barrier to Medi-Cal for undocumented young adults up to age 26 and seniors age 65 and older. This action mirrors state budget investments proposed by the State Senate budget committee. These actions would provide access to over 175,000 more Californians.
“Today’s Senate vote of SB 29 reinforces the principle made clear in the Assembly floor yesterday — health care is a human right. We applaud the Senate’s leadership in ensuring health care coverage for immigrant families,” said Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, a co-chair of the #Health4All campaign and co-sponsor of SB 29. “We now turn to our legislators and Governor to pass a budget that reflects inclusion and compassion in our health care system for all Californians who call this state home.”
“The strong support shown in the State Senate and Assembly prove that California is ready to take historic steps this year to remove barriers to care and coverage for young adults and seniors. We urge that these key actions to expand Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status, is included in our state budget as discussions take place over the next few weeks,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, a co-chair of the #Health4All campaign and co-sponsor of SB 29. “Our health care system works better when everyone is covered. Expanding access to Medi-Cal will not just positively impact the individuals newly covered, but their families, our communities, and the health system on which we all rely.”
#Health4All has been prioritized in all branches of California’s government this year. Yesterday, the California State Assembly made history by voting for the first time to expand access to Medi-Cal to all income-eligible adults, regardless of immigration status, by passing AB 4 (Arambula, Bonta, Chiu, Gonzalaz, Santiago). Governor Gavin 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. Responding to the requests of the immigrant community, the California State Senate has prioritized the expansion to undocumented seniors, in addition to young adults, in both SB 29 and the State Senate budget proposal.
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.
California has had #Health4AllKids since 2016 which has ensured coverage of over 270,000 children in Medi-Cal. SB 29 is the next logical step to ensuring #Health4All families and vulnerable communities. Expanding access to undocumented elders and young adults is necessary to moving California closer to achieving the goal of health insurance coverage for all Californians.
Members of the #Health4All campaign strongly support these steps, as well as endorse a plan to get to coverage for all adults in the next few years.
SB 29 now heads to the State Assembly for policy hearings.