By Mark Diel
Senate Bill 4 from Richard Lara represents the culmination of over 10 years of advocacy work by organizations like Health Access, California Immigrant Policy Center, and CCHI to give children in California universal access to Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status. The expansion of Medi-Cal to all children has already been signed into law through Budget Trailer Bill SB 75. Beginning no sooner than May 1st, 2016, an estimated 170,000 eligible children will be transitioned from their existing coverage to full-scope Medi-Cal.
A great number of the newly eligible children are currently enrolled in either: Restricted (Emergency) Medi-Cal, a local Healthy Kids product, California Children’s Services, or Kaiser Child Health Program. All of the kids currently enrolled in these programs will need to be transitioned to Full-Scope Medi-Cal. We have some of the geographical break down of these figures, but we will wait until we have all the information before we publish the specifics.
CCHI has estimated that it will cost local community based organizations approximately $25 million to get all of these kids successfully transitioned, and we are discussing that figure with some of the key decision makers. Still more funding will be needed to find and enroll the approximately 80,000 children who will be eligible but are not currently insured.
Nothing is for certain yet when it comes to funding, but it has been established that there is a need, and conversations are moving forward with some of the state’s biggest funders and health plans.
CCHI is pushing to get as much funding as quickly as possible to local enrollment organizations, so that we can all staff up for the work ahead. We’re also looking at the best ways to implement the transition, so that kids get enrolled as quickly and easily as possible. We’ll publish more news and information about how implementation will happen before too long. Stay tuned for updates.
What about the rest of Health4All?
SB 4 has been split from its original form into two bills: SB 4 Health4All Children, and SB 10 which will allow adults to purchase coverage through CoveredCA. SB 10 has been parked as a two-year bill, and will probably be taken up in next year’s budget and legislative session.
SB 10, which will complete the ambitions of the Health4All legislation, will be a continuing advocacy effort for CCHI and other organizations, and once it passes, it will mean more big business for California’s enrollment organizations.
CCHI is a leader in health advocacy for children and families and is recognized as a statewide network of community organizations that champion enrollment in health coverage, access to care and other services.