Californians who are at least 50 and living in the country without permission are newly eligible for state health care coverage under legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, part of a record state budget that includes major investments in mental health, homelessness and housing.
The legislation to expand Medi-Cal coverage to low-income adults regardless of immigration status builds upon proposals pushed by Democrats to extend the state’s version of federal Medicaid to children in 2016 and to young adults under 26 in 2020.
Around 235,000 people are expected to benefit from this legislation.
“It’s a point of pride, it’s a point of principle, and it’s what marks our values here in the state of California,” Newsom said at the Clinica Sierra Vista Elm Community Health Center in Fresno.
“We believe in living together, and advancing and prospering together across every conceivable difference.”
The program will begin in May 2022. The income threshold to qualify for Medi-Cal is 138% of the federal poverty level or lower. To be eligible, individuals must earn less than $17,609 a year and $36,100 for a family of four.
Newsom added that the expansion will have an initial cost of $48 million and eventually cost $1.3 billion per year when the program is fully up and running