Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Latin Times
Latin Times
Pedro Camacho

Hundreds of thousands of Latinos at risk as bill to protect Medi-Cal coverage for Californians fails

Millions of Californians in Jeopardy of Losing Medi-Cal Coverage (Credit: Via Pexels)

The Protecting Medi-Cal Coverage for Californians Act, also known as AB 2956, has died in Assembly Appropriations. The bill sought to protect over 1.6 million Californians who have lost their Medi-Cal coverage in the first 10 months of this unwinding period – the overwhelming majority being people of color, about 650,000 of all disenrolled people being Latinos.

If passed, AB 2956 would've allowed adults enrolled to keep their coverage for a full 12 months by making the federal Medi-Cal renewal flexibilities permanent.

"I am disappointed that AB 2956, a bill that would have helped many Californians retain health coverage, did not get the necessary approval to move forward," said Assemblymember Tasha Boerner, who introduced the bill.

"I remain committed to ensuring that those eligible for Medi-Cal are not routinely disenrolled due to bureaucratic red tape. It is unconscionable to think that over a million people each year are not able to get the care that they need due to something as simple as missing a single piece of paper."

As of April 2023, California restarted the process of reviewing and renewing Medi-Cal eligibility for the first time since Medi-Cal renewals were paused in March 2020, referred to as Medi-Cal "unwinding." The overwhelming majority (80%) of Medi-Cal disenrollments have been for procedural or 'paperwork' reasons, meaning they have been disenrolled by no fault of their own, even when they were likely still eligible.

Notably, California had adopted several federal flexibilities to streamline the renewal process and reduce the number of wrongful disenrollment cases. In other words, without these flexibilities, far more eligible Medi-Cal enrollees would have lost their coverage. AB 2956 would've continued those flexibilities that otherwise would expire. The federal agency has extended those flexibilities through June 2025. But without AB 2956, it is unclear that California will extend these flexibilities beyond December 2024.

Another consequence of the Medi-Cal crisis? Roughly 300,000 children stand to lose their health insurance. "Losing coverage—even temporarily—delays medical care, undermining healthy childhood development," Mayra E. Alvarez, president of The Children's Partnership told Newsweek. "By removing enrollment barriers in Medi-Cal, continuous coverage policies offer that stability to more than half of California's nine million children, including millions of families of color who disproportionately rely on Medi-Cal."

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.