- Felicia Matlosz
SACRAMENTO, CA – The State Assembly this afternoon voted 53-14 to pass Assembly Bill 4, known as the Health for All bill, and forward it to the State Senate for consideration. Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) is the author.
The bill seeks to provide full scope Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible adults, removing immigration status as grounds for exclusion. In recent years, health and immigration rights advocates have successfully fought for coverage for children and young adults up to age 26, regardless of immigration status.
In this legislative year, the Assembly and State Senate budgets are aligned to provide full scope Medi-Cal coverage to income-eligible undocumented adults 50 years of age and older. Including them would be a significant step toward achieving AB 4’s goals. Assemblymember Arambula and advocates hope negotiations with Governor Newsom’s administration will lead to the Governor signing the bill into law and working toward fully funding AB 4 in subsequent years. This would address the substantial gap of adults still excluded, even though they pay their share of taxes and contribute to the economy.
The COVID-19 emergency exacerbated the racial and ethnic disparities in the health care system. The virus hit hardest ethnic minorities who work in the field and other essential jobs that kept California’s economy and health care delivery system going during the crisis. Many of them were Latinos, adults in the prime of life who were killed or afflicted in numbers disproportionate to the rest of Californians.
“We painfully witnessed what happens to our communities of color, to our immigrant brothers and sisters, who bore the brunt of this pandemic,” Assemblymember Arambula said during today’s Assembly session.
“I am grateful for the Assembly’s support and that my colleagues recognize that all people should be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness,” he said after the vote. “I look forward to continuing the fight for AB 4 because ultimately the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.”