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California Lawmakers Consider Medical Interpreters Program For Second Time

California's State Capitol Building
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics

For the second time in a year, California lawmakers will consider a bill that would create a medical interpreters program. As Capital Public Radio’s Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone reports, the bill’s backers say circumstances are different this time.    

This year’s bill is essentially the same as last year’s. The state would pay interpreters to help Medi-Cal patients who have limited English skills to understand their health care.

Will Shuck with the California Assembly Speaker’s office says what’s different this year is the timing.

Shuck: “It was popular with the legislature last year, and we’re hoping it will be more popular with the Governor.”

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the program last year, saying it was unwise to add more complexity to the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law.

The Assembly Speakers office says almost 7 million Californians speak English “less than very well.” It says this bill would improve the quality of health care for some of them.  

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