On Thursday, the Senate and Assembly gave preliminary approval to two bills that would expand Medicaid (known in California as Medi-Cal) to more than a million low-income Californians. The bills must still switch houses for final passage. AARP strongly supports both bills; volunteers, staff, and members have been active in urging support from legislators.
ABX1 1, authored by Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), and SBX1 1, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), expand Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income, childless adults and simplify Medi-Cal eligibility rules as a result of Affordable Care Act provisions. This expansion will help 50- to 64-year-olds who have lost their jobs, are struggling to find employment, and cannot access affordable health care. AARP estimates this will mean more than 395,000 individuals age 50-64 could qualify for Medi-Cal in California, providing a bridge to hundreds of thousands of older workers waiting to become eligible for Medicare.
It's critical that the legislature acts now to ensure California is ready to take new applications in October 2013 and for coverage to begin in January 2014. We'll continue to keep you updated on the status of these bills.
Image: California Capitol by amitp, via Flickr