California could become the first state to officially expand its Medicaid program in line with the health reform law as newly introduced legislation would open up Medi-Cal to more than 1 million new people.
Under a bill proposed Monday by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, an additional 1 million low-income California consumers could become eligible for health insurance through Medi-Cal, thereby generating more revenue for insurers that contract with the state health system, reported The Sacramento Bee.
The new legislation would grant Medi-Cal eligibility to families and childless adults with incomes that are less than 133 percent of federal poverty level or less than $15,400 per year, the Ventura County Star reported. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg also introduced a similar bill in the Senate.
The bills would streamline the Medi-Cal enrollment process so that up to 500,000 people who are eligible for but not enrolled in the state Medicaid program can begin receiving benefits, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"California is the national leader on implementing health care reform, and I am pleased to be authoring this critical measure which will ensure more Californians have access to quality, affordable health care," Pérez said.
The bills were introduced during a special session of the California legislation, which was called by Gov. Scott Brown to specifically address health reform.