Health Care Reform
11:08 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Bill Would Extend Medi-Cal to a Million More Californians

file photo
Credit Shellie Branco / Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers will consider new legislation designed to keep the state in sync with the federal health law. As Pauline Bartolone reports from Sacramento, the legislation is part of a special session on health care that began Monday.

Lawmakers in both houses propose bills that would add more than a million people to the state’s Medicaid program.

Assembly Speaker John Perez said his bill would allow individuals with an annual income of around $15,000 dollars to get public health insurance – and that could indirectly help other Californians, too.

“So as you decrease the number of uninsured individuals, move a million people into coverage, that will decrease some of those other cost pressures on the market-based health insurance plans as well,” says Perez.

Elizabeth Landsberg of the Western Center on Law and Poverty says the Medi-Cal changes may mean less paperwork and a simpler process for the consumer.

"The Affordable Care Act is really trying to move to as many electronic verifications as possible. So the vision is that this new system will connect with state databases and  with IRS data to check your income that way,” says  Landsberg.

But Republican Assemblymember Dan Logue says he’s concerned there are not enough health care workers to see newly insured people.   

“What’s the use of having health care insurance if you don’t have health care? So if you expand to another one to two million people and no one can see a physician, how’s that helping us,” asks Logue.

The State Senate also announced legislation that would change rules in the private health insurance market.

Related Program