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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

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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