Health care dominated the California Governor’s race last year and is once again a top issue in the 2020 Presidential race. The initial support by the democratic Presidential candidates for single-payer health care has transformed into support for universal health care. Rather than call for the elimination of all private health insurance, the candidates’ focus is to ensure health care for all. California is taking steps towards that goal through the expansion of Medi-Cal. The proposed expansion, which was announced on Governor Newsom’s first day in office, would cover any undocumented young adult who is otherwise eligible for Medi-Cal.
At an Informational Hearing on February 14, 2019 the bipartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office reported that their fiscal projections of the cost of Medi-Cal expansion to young adults revealed that it would “grow to potentially about a little less than $300 million net general fund” annually in the future years of the program. This is significant, because the Governor’s budget proposal to provide full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants ages 19 -25 put program costs at $194 million net general fund expenditure for 2019-2020. Interestingly, the LAO estimate of costs for 2019-2020 was $60 million lower due to a redirection of current funding for county health activities which would offset the cost of this program. According to the proposed Budget, expansion is expected to provide health coverage to approximately 138,000 undocumented adults in its first year.