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Governor Signs New Bill To Expand Medi-Cal Services To Low-Income Undocumented Californians

Governor Gavin Newsom visited a health clinic in southwest Fresno Tuesday with a group of other state and local leaders to speak about a new bill that will expand access to healthcare for some undocumented Californians. 

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The governor signs AB 133 into law.

The governor signed into law, AB 133, which will provide full scope Medi-Cal services to low-income Californians, who are 50 years of age and older. 

“Regardless again of their ability to pay, regardless of their pre-existing conditions, and regardless of their immigration status. It's a point of pride, it's a point of principle,” Newsom said. 

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Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula highlights who will benefit from the bill.

The change has the potential to reach more than 250,000 more people who need services. Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula said many of the undocumented Californians who will benefit have been essential workers.

“It was those same people who suffered the worst consequences and it is why it is so important that in this budget, we are doubling down and investing in those same communities,” Arambula said.

Mayor Jerry Dyer also spoke at the event, emphasizing that everyone should have access to healthcare.

“That is the driving force behind Assembly Bill 133, making sure the basic needs of Californians are met especially in our underserved population,” Dyer said.

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Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer emphasizes healthcare access as a basic need.

Other components of the bill include $4.3 billion for comprehensive mental health screening and  

$2.2 billion of a $3 billion commitment for mental health housing.

 

The changes go into effect May 2022 and when fully implemented, will cost $1.3 billion a year.

 

One of the governor’s biggest health concerns was increasing the number of vaccinations in California, especially in those underserved populations. He said right now, 75% of Californians eligible to receive a vaccine have had at least one dose so far. 

With the spread of the new Delta variant, he said the state will take the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s new indoor masking guidelines into consideration. Newsom said California’s positivity rate climbed from 0.7% to 5.4% in the last 5 weeks.

“Gives you a sense of how quickly it's moved,” he said. 

On Monday, the governor announced all state employees and healthcare workers would need to provide proof of vaccinations or be required to undergo regular testing. 

 

Soreath Hok is a multimedia journalist with 16 years of experience in radio, television and digital production. At KVPR she covers local government, politics and other local news.
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