People age 50 and older who are eligible for Medi-Cal can now enroll regardless of immigration status, a change effective May 1.
María Cruz says she is grateful, calling it a blessing. She remembers a time when she had to choose between her medication and put food on the table. Cleaning houses for a living is not enough to cover both.
But for ten years, Cruz came to the Clinica Romero. She is among the 40% of undocumented patients who receive health care there, a service that is expanding statewide.
“Today, 244,000 people who reside across California will benefit from this new law, which brings our state one step closer to providing health care coverage for everyone, regardless of immigration status,” said Clinica Romero CEO, Carlos Vaquerano.
On Monday, Cruz signed up for Medi-Cal benefits at the clinic. She will be among newly covered Californians able to obtain preventive health care services anywhere Medi-Cal is accepted.
“If you grew up like I grew up with undocumented parents, you knew what it was like to not have medical coverage,” said District 53 Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. Many of us grew up having health coverage at clinics.”
People can enroll online, at community clinics like Clinica Romero, or government offices.
Santiago says the state is one step closer to universal health care – only those aged 26 to 49 are left.
“We are fighting for this in the state budget this year,” Santiago said. “And when the state budget is settled and finished, we expect it to be in there.”
The medical registration process is generally lengthy. People now eligible for all of these new programs are asked to contribute their patience and time. It can take about 45 minutes.
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