This bill would extend eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals of all ages who are otherwise eligible for those benefits but for their immigration status. The bill would delete provisions delaying eligibility and enrollment until the director makes the determination described above. The bill would require the department to provide, indefinitely, the above-described monthly updates to the legislative committees. Because counties are required to make Medi-Cal eligibility determinations and this bill would expand Medi-Cal eligibility, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
AAP Positional Letter
June 12, 2018
The Honorable Richard Pan
Chair, Senate Health Committee
State Capitol, Room 2191
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 2965 (Arambula) Medi-Cal: immigration status
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Pan,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, supports AB 2965 (Arambula), which would provide comprehensive full-scope Medi-Cal to income-eligible undocumented adults under the age of 25 by removing immigration status as an eligibility exclusion.
Today, California provides near-universal health care coverage for children. In 2015, California removed immigration status as an eligibility barrier for Californian children to access full-scope Medi-Cal. This has ensured that over 200,000 children have enrolled in life-saving, comprehensive health coverage. However, their parents and other undocumented Californians continue to lack access to health care. This reality has tremendous health and economic impacts on families and our state where 1 in 6 of all California children have at least one undocumented parent.
Undocumented Californians are deeply rooted in our state and provide significant economic, familial, and cultural contributions to our communities. Despite their vital place in California’s social and economic fabric, undocumented and uninsured Californians are denied care because of where they were born. Of the nearly 3 million Californians who remain uninsured, 58% are undocumented adults.
Undocumented young adult Californians’ exclusion from health care can result in easily treatable conditions becoming life-threatening and entire families facing an increased risk of medical debt that disrupts the financial wellbeing of their household. Many face the barriers of not having health care while also caring for their aging parents who have struggled to provide for their children all while lacking health care. Unrelenting federal attacks on immigrants and their families have also placed communities under incredible duress and toxic stress, disrupting their physical and mental wellbeing, and further exacerbating their need for care.1
California pediatricians support universal access to care because a healthier family and community supports and contributes to the health of children. A child’s positive development relies on their having healthy parents and caregivers. Further, covering adults (both parents and other adults, such as uncles and aunts, adult-age siblings) can contribute to the financial stability of the family.2 Finally, public health issues are best addressed when all members of a community can access care.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 across the state urge you to vote AYE on AB 2965 (Arambula). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Senate Health Committee Members
Office of Honorable Joaquin Arambula, author
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne