Members of the #Health4AllCA coalition announced their 2021 slate of legislative proposals on Tuesday. (Health Access CA)
March 17, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The “Care for All California” coalition, made up of some 60 nonprofit advocacy groups, is pressing for passage of a package of 10 proposals designed to give more people access to health care and make the system more equitable for Californians of all races.

The best-known is Assembly Bill 4, which would extend Medi-Cal to all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status, and Senate Bill 56, which would cover undocumented seniors.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access California, said the bills would get many more people covered.

“California could again cut the rate of the uninsured in half, to get under 5% and near-universal coverage,” he said. “California can continue to lead on coverage, on holding the health industry accountable for reducing disparities, and on quality and cost.”

Another bill in the package, Senate Bill 644, would allow the state insurance exchange, known as Covered California, to send an email about health plans and subsidies to anyone who applies for unemployment. Senate Bill 65 would cover doula and midwife services under Medi-Cal to reduce the number of women and babies, particularly people of color, who died in childbirth.

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, noted that a lot of people suddenly lost their jobs and health insurance during the pandemic but couldn’t qualify for Medi-Cal because they own a home have more than one car per driver or had a month’s worth of savings in the bank.

“This means that low-income and no-income Californians must pay for doctors’ visits, prescription drugs, X-rays and even surgeries and hospital stays until they are completely destitute,” she said. “And then, and only then, are they allowed to get Medi-Cal.”

Carrillo’s new bill, A470, would eliminate the asset test for Medi-Cal eligibility. Other proposals would create a state Office of Healthcare Affordability (AB 1130) and strengthen oversight on consolidation in the health-care industry, which its backers say contributes to higher costs for patients (AB 1132).

Disclosure: Health Access contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues.


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