The CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the country, wrote to California Governor Gavin Newsom to urge him to accept key elements of the Legislature’s budget proposal, including the Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented immigrants who are 50 or older, the removal of the Medi-Cal asset test for seniors and the permanent end to the suspension of Medi-Cal optional benefits. In the letter, John Baackes tells the governor that the proposed measures are a major step toward improving services for those who are underserved and at risk for significant health disparities, and will strengthen the safety net that serves them.
Baackes writes that expanding Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants who are 50 years of age and older moves the state closer to achieving universal health care coverage. He explains that undocumented Californians provide significant economic and cultural contributions to communities across the state and should not be denied basic health care because of where they were born.
Elimination of the Medi-Cal asset test would remove the “senior savings” penalty. Baackes says the asset test is outdated and causes financial instability for seniors by limiting their savings and withholding health coverage from those who hold assets in excess of state qualification limits. With the cost of living continuously rising, Baackes says removing the asset test would allow seniors to maintain their dignity and financial stability, while gaining access to much needed healthcare.
Baackes applauded the governor for, like the Legislature, including the permanent end of the suspension of Medi-Cal optional benefits in his proposed budget. He says this will give Medi-Cal recipients peace of mind when it comes to benefits like audiology and speech therapy, eyeglasses and contacts, and podiatric services, among others.
Baackes ended the letter by telling the governor that investing in health coverage for the most vulnerable Californians is really an investment in the health of the state. L.A. Care is committed to advancing health equity for its members and their communities.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.4 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.