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June 27, 2013


Historic Expansion of Medicaid; State-Funded Medi-Cal Preserved for Lawfully Present Immigrants; Expansion of Health Access for New Categories of Lawfully Present Immigrants.

Governor Brown just signed the $96.3 billion 2013-2014 budget bill, and the historic Medicaid expansion bills ABx1 1 (Perez) and SBx1 1 (Steinberg/Hernandez), which will make health coverage available to over one million Californians. The state budget and the Medicaid expansion bills ensure that the state-funded Medi-Cal program for newly qualified immigrants* will be maintained and preserved as we implement the Affordable Care Act. The preservation of state-funded Medi-Cal is a victory for lawfully present immigrants, who would have been prevented from enrolling into Medi-Cal in the future.

*This refers to lawfully present recent immigrants, who are subject to the 5-year federal bar.

By signing the budget and the Medicaid Expansion bills into law, Medi-Cal will be expanded to US Citizens and lawfully present immigrants who earn under 138% of the Federal Poverty level. (That’s $15,415 per year for an individual and $26,344 for a family of three).

These bills not only protect and preserve the current state funded program for lawfully present recent immigrants and for those that Permanently Reside Under Color of Law (PRUCOL), but also ensures that 6,000 newly qualified immigrant parents and caretakers who are currently uninsured [i], go into state-funded Medi-Cal with their children.

For recent immigrants who are childless adults who go in to Covered California, the affordability and benefit wraps will ensure the same level of cost-sharing, affordable premiums, and benefits as if they were in Medi-Cal. This access to care is also a victory for immigrants, who faced the threat of unaffordable coverage if left out of healthcare reform implementation. The state will leverage tax credits and subsidies available to lawfully present immigrants in the Exchange, which has no five year bar. This ensures new access to affordable health coverage for  40,000 individuals [ii].

CIPC is proud to have partnered with diverse advocacy and immigrant-serving organizations to preserve state-funded Medi-Cal and expand access for newly eligible legal immigrant populations. CIPC wholeheartedly thanks the 140 organizations who signed on to our letter to demand that Gov. Brown rethink his earlier proposal to stop enrollment into state-funded Medi-Cal in 2014. With continued support from you and from our partners we have ensured California’s commitment to this immigrant population will continue.

We also appreciate the hard work and courage of legislative leadership and staff that helped make affordable coverage a reality for newly qualified immigrants who are childless adults. We also appreciate working with Governor Brown’s office and department staff to ensure that this population was not left behind as part of implementation of health care reform.

However, even with new coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act, it is expected that 3-4 million Californians will still be without health coverage, of which one million will be unfairly excluded due to their immigration status. CIPC is quite worried about how this budget may impact the remaining uninsured.

Unfortunately, this budget will cut $300 million from county health services in the first six months and hundreds of millions more in the future, further reducing the capacity of the safety net to provide for those that remain uninsured. Additionally, the bills lock counties into a formula which could allow the state to take up to 60% of the $1.8B that goes to counties for health care services. CIPC is very concerned about the impact to the undocumented, as it will be much more difficult for counties to come up with money to expand eligibility in the future if they choose to do so. Instead, we would have preferred to see these existing health care dollars be used to expand health care and provide a medical home to all Californians, including the undocumented. CIPC will continue to fight for health coverage for all Californians.

For CIPC’s full detailed analysis on the 2013-2014 budget, please
click here. If you have any questions, please contact our Government Affairs Manager, Ronald Coleman at 916-448-6762, or rcoleman@caimmigrant.org.


[i] 2009 California Health Interview Survey, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

[ii] Medi-Cal Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act: Significant Increase in Coverage with Minimal Cost to the State, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and UC Berkeley Labor Center, January 2013


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