Groups Renew Commitment to Expand Medi-Cal to All Adults, Regardless of Immigration Status
Sacramento, CA – Immigrant rights and health care advocates are praising an agreement by Governor Newsom to continue working on key next steps towards #Health4All next year. Earlier today, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, author of SB 29 which extends Medi-Cal to undocumented adults age 65 and over, announced an agreement with the Governor to continue to work toward extending health care to this population next year.
This next step meaningfully builds on years-long efforts to expand health care to all Californians, regardless of immigration status. The #Health4All campaign, established in 2014, marked its first achievement in 2016 with Health4All Kids, which expanded access to all undocumented children in California up to age 18. Following years of advocacy by the 80-member coalition, the 2019-2020 budget saw the first-in-the-nation step taken towards removing immigration status exclusions to Medi-Cal for any adult population, expanding access to all undocumented young adults up to age 26. Together, this means that in 2020, over 350,000 more Californians will have access to comprehensive medical care, ensuring that our children, families, and communities are healthier.
This year also saw the first ever vote by a full legislative house of the California Legislature to expand Medi-Cal to all undocumented immigrants. In May, the California State Assembly passed AB 4 by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula which removed all immigration status eligibility restrictions from Medi-Cal. This historic vote proved that the legislature and the people of California see the enormous benefit in ensuring that everyone who lives in our state has access to comprehensive health care coverage.
Elected leaders and advocates from the Health4All coalition praised the announcement and addressed the urgency to provide health care coverage to undocumented seniors and all adults populations as a budget and legislative priorities when the legislature reconvenes:
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his pledge to work with the legislature to provide reliable health care for the most vulnerable people in our population. Our health care system works better when all Californians have access to comprehensive healthcare including preventive treatment and well-patient checkups,” said Senator Durazo. “I also want to express gratitude to Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) for their leadership and the hundreds of health, immigrant rights and community advocates who have worked tirelessly to ensure that every Californian has comprehensive, affordable and accessible care.”
“I am pleased that the Governor acknowledges the importance in providing health coverage for all. Every Californian should have the right to health care, regardless of immigration status,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno). “It’s been an honor to work with Senator Durazo this year, and we will continue to push for Health4All. I greatly appreciate the growing support for removing the exclusions in Medi-Cal coverage. I am proud that we will continue to remove barriers for our immigrant families, instead of building them.”
“We are heartened by this positive step to uplift the health of vulnerable community members. As we work towards the Governor’s vision of universal coverage, we know that the urgency is critical for undocumented seniors, who deserve to age with dignity and respect,” said Cyththia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, a co-chair of the #Health4All campaign. “We count on California’s leadership next year to prioritize Health4AllSeniors in the state budget. California must continue to uphold its value of inclusion and the principle that no person should suffer or die from a treatable condition, no matter their age or immigration status.”
“We commend the Governor in committing to take another step to expanding health care for all, so that more of our seniors will soon get the coverage they urgently need. Together with this year’s first-in-the-nation steps to expand Medi-Cal and increase affordability assistance in Covered California, our state is building momentum toward a more accessible, equitable, and universal health care system.” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition and co-chair of the #Health4All campaign. “As opposed to a federal Administration seeking to take away our health care, California is showing the path to health for all, recognizing that everyone benefits when everyone is covered. These low-income seniors have contributed a lifetime of work and taxes into California, and should have access to the same primary and preventive care, which helps make the health system stronger for everyone.”
About the Health for All Coalition
Started in 2014, the Health for All coalition is a broad range of advocacy groups, community groups, community members, provider groups and policymakers working together to ensure that all Californians have access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of immigration status. The coalition boasts membership from over 80 organizations across California representing immigrants, children, health care consumers, patients, providers, policy experts, academics and policymakers committed to improving access and removing barriers to quality health care for all Californians. Focusing on raising immigrant, children and consumer voices, the coalition engages in legislative, grassroots and media advocacy to change state and federal policy so that all Californians have access to the health care they need and deserve.