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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Coalition presses to open health exchange to undocumented Californians

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Wednesday, April 10, 2024   

This week, groups fighting for health equity known as the Health4All campaign are asking the California Legislature to remove barriers to the "Covered C-A" health insurance marketplace based on immigration status.

Assembly Bill 4 and a budget action would pave the way.

Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, said right now, 520,000 undocumented Californians who do not get insurance at work should have access to subsidized plans under Covered California.

"They're left uninsured simply because they earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal, even if it's by only a few dollars," Durazo explained. "They are still in a position where they have to choose between the health care they need or putting food on the table, or paying rent."

State lawmakers have expanded Medi-Cal in stages over the past 10 years to cover all low-income undocumented people. However, a family of four on Medi-Cal can only earn just over $43,000 a year and undocumented families are currently excluded from Covered California under the Affordable Care Act.

Carlos Alarcón, health and public benefits policy analyst at the California Immigrant Policy Center, part of the Health4All campaign, argued it is important to set up an easy way to shop for coverage.

"We're asking the Legislature to invest in establishing a separate health care market exchange, where all Californians, regardless of their immigration status, would be able to safely shop and compare for health care plans," Alarcón outlined. "Maybe down the line, provide these folks with the affordability assistance that they would need."

The coalition is asking the Legislature for at least $15 million to build out the mirror marketplace. However, detractors are concerned about adding to California's budget shortfall. Advocates also gave public comment on Monday in a subcommittee of the Assembly considering health care budget issues.


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