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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Medi-Cal immigration status exclusion ends Monday

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Thursday, December 28, 2023   

Starting Monday, California becomes the first state to cover health care for all income-eligible people regardless of their age or immigration status.

In 2016 California opened up Medi-Cal to undocumented children, then to young adults in 2020, and then to adults 50 and older in 2022.

Sarah Dar, policy director for the California Immigrant Policy Center, said now we close the gap and add undocumented adults ages 26 to 49.

"It's completely life-changing," said Dar, "for people who in many cases have gone years, maybe an entire lifetime, without regular access to care, doctor's appointments, or medications."

Prior to this, undocumented adults ages 26 to 49 had to rely on restricted-scope Medi-Cal, which only covers people experiencing a life-threatening emergency or giving birth.

The state will automatically upgrade those people to full-scope Medi-Cal.

Opponents cite concerns about cost. The state has budgeted $1.4 billion from the general fund this fiscal year, and $3.4 billion a year going forward.

Community health workers are fanning out to spread the word about the new coverage. Dar said they are tamping down fears that using Medi-Cal could affect a person's ability to get a Green Card.

"It's been a big source of confusion," said Dar. "Many people may not understand that this wouldn't be a consideration in a public-charge determination because it is a state-funded program - and because now the Trump administration's rule has been overturned, and so Medicaid is not counted towards the public-charge test."

People can sign up via the website CoveredCA.com or get a paper application at their county health department.




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