Hearing Today on Bill to Make Medi-Cal Accessible for More Low-income Adults
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
A hearing is set for today in Sacramento for a bill which would make Medi-Cal accessible to more people.
Low-income older adults and people with disabilities who make just over the Medi-Cal limit have to pay 60% of their monthly income as a share of cost, minus a set amount for living expenses. The so-called "maintenance level" is set at just $600 a month.
Tiffany Huyenh-Cho, senior staff attorney for Justice in Aging, a law firm advocating for older adults and persons with disabilities, said Assembly Bill 1900 raises the maintenance level to 138% of the federal poverty level, which works out to about $1,400 a month.
"It would free up income to pay for food, rent and other expenses," Huyenh-Cho explained. "Because the maintenance need level won't be set at such a low number, at $600 a month for a single person."
So far there is no registered opposition to the bill. The high cost of living in the Golden State makes it nearly impossible to cover basic necessities on $600 a month.
Some 91,000 Californians participate in the share-of-cost program, excluding people in long-term care, and 57,000 are older adults and persons with disabilities.
Today's hearing before the Assembly Committee on Health will be livestreamed starting at 1:30 p.m.
Huyenh-Cho pointed out at the current maintenance level, many people cannot afford to use the share-of-cost program.
"It forces people to forgo medical care because that share of cost is so high," Huyenh-Cho observed. "Or folks are forced to move into a skilled nursing facility because they can't afford the wraparound services that Medi-Cal may cover that allow a person to live in their home."
Advocates say health equity is a big concern because a disproportionate percentage of patients on the share-of-cost program are people of color on fixed incomes.
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