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Governor Newsom discusses Medi-Cal in Kern County

Gov. Gavin Newsom in Kern County
Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 21:54:24-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Governor Newsom announces his plan to expand Medi-Cal eligibility for all low-income residents regardless of immigration status.

The governor talked about the diversity of the state as the reasoning why this expansion is needed, adding that a surplus in the budget is making this possible.

“When we talk about everybody, we are going to be inclusive to the two plus million Californians that are working every single day. Ten percent of the workforce of the state of California, of which the vast majority have worked in the state over the decade and those are people that regardless of their immigration status pay millions of dollars in taxes a year in the state of California.”

Kern County resident and longtime immigrant rights activist Dolores Huerta voiced her support for the plan saying it will close a gap in healthcare.

“We are going to be the first in the nation, United States of America, that is finally going to recognize our immigrants and to give them the kind of healthcare that they need.”

Currently California offers a limited Medi-Cal plan to undocumented seniors over the age of 64 and those under the age of 26, the governor saying this would now include the other 1.1 million undocumented Californias who do not fit under these two requirements.

The plan has an initial 640-million-dollar price tag which is included in this year’s budget and would be used to launch the program. It would then cost 2.2 billion dollars a year to keep it going.

“We are saving 330 million dollars in this year’s budget because it is now being backfilled by the federal government, that will allow us to use those 330 million dollars to expand coverage in other areas and strengthen our health exchange.”

Newsom also addressed the pushback regarding the single payer system that many Republicans have concerns about.

The governor went on to say they have put together a commission that will come out with a report on different strategies to single payer financing.

“Again, challenge those who do not believe in the principal, why do you maintain a system that is costly and inefficient, that does not lower cost for everyone, and does not provide the outcomes that keeps our communities healthier and safer.”

The governor said he'd like to see the bill pass by the end of the year. The California State Assembly is currently debating the topic.

If passed, the plan would go into effect by 2024.