FRESNO CA (KMJ) — Governor Gavin Newsom was in Fresno on Tuesday to talk about the state’s effort to get more people vaccinated.
He visited Clinica Sierra Vista Elm Community Health Center to sign legislation making California the first state in the nation to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income adults 50 years of age or older, regardless of immigration status.
The health care trailer bill, AB 133, makes bold changes toward a more equitable and prevention-focused approach to health care through expanded behavioral health initiatives supporting California youth and people with severe behavioral health challenges, including those experiencing homelessness; extending Medi-Cal eligibility for postpartum individuals; supporting continued telehealth flexibilities; and advancing the state’s innovative CalAIM initiative.
“We’re investing California’s historic surplus to accomplish transformative changes we’ve long dreamed of – including this historic Medi-Cal expansion to ensure thousands of older undocumented Californians, many of whom have been serving on the front lines of the pandemic, can access critical health care services,” said Governor Newsom. “I thank the Legislature for its steadfast partnership to bring California closer to universal health care coverage and advance comprehensive initiatives to ensure California’s communities come back from the pandemic stronger and healthier than before.”
About 235,000 undocumented people aged 50 years and older are newly eligible for Medi-Cal, including preventive services, long-term care and In-Home Supportive Services.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) July 27, 2021
In 2019, California became the first state to extend Medi-Cal coverage to all eligible undocumented young adults up to the age of 26 and with today’s expansion, the state has the most inclusive health coverage for low-income persons in the country.
AB 133 also extends the Medi-Cal postpartum care period from 60 days to 12 months without requiring a mental health diagnosis, including for eligible undocumented Californians.
The governor also highlighted the state’s strategy to reach communities with low vaccination rates and the first-in-the-nation measures announced Monday to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week. Local governments and businesses are encouraged to adopt similar measures amid the growing threat of the Delta variant.
Listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern: