A day after this poll was released finding that 58 percent of registered California voters support expanding healthcare access to undocumented Californians, Senate Bill 4 authored by Senator Ricardo Lara cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee, according to the announcement released Thursday.
The poll finds that “voter support for extending Medi-Cal services to the state's undocumented residents is gaining in popularity. At present, 58 percent of the state's registered voters favor this idea, while 39 percent are opposed. Last year a narrower 51 percent to 45 percent supported this proposal.”
The bill removes barriers to the health insurance market by directing the state to seek permission from the federal government to allow undocumented Californians to purchase their own health coverage through the Covered California Health Insurance Exchange.
SB 4 also makes important changes to ensure implementation of the recent Health for All Kids budget action that will cover all income-eligible children under Medi-Cal.
“The momentum for health for all continues,” said Senator Lara in a statement. “We have made significant progress this year by expanding access to healthcare for all California kids and we will continue to grow this access for the adult population with Senate Bill 4. We must ensure that the remaining uninsured get the access to care they need to lead healthy lives.”
He added that this is an important step toward realizing this “common-sense goal.”
According to the release, through the recently enacted state budget, California expanded Medi-Cal eligibility to all children, regardless of immigration status. Beginning in May 2016, an estimated 170,000 undocumented children will now be eligible for health care coverage under Medi-Cal.
Senator Lara amended SB 4 to focus on implementing this budget action while continuing the push to request a waiver so everyone can purchase coverage. Senate Bill 10, which will be held until next year, will include the provision to cover adults through a capped enrollment program and will be a priority for the senator, according to the announcement.
Senate Bill 4 achieves three goals:
- Directs the state to apply for a federal waiver to allow undocumented Californians to buy health insurance with their own money through Covered California.
- Ensures that kids currently enrolled in restricted scope emergency Medi-Cal will be transferred to full scope services within 30 days of the program being operational (May 1, 2016).
- Ensures that kids with serious medical conditions that require specialist care who are being newly enrolled in the program will be properly evaluated and referred.
SB4 will now move to the Assembly floor.