The Legislature Fails to Advance Coverage for California’s Remaining Uninsured

August 17, 2018

On August 16, 2018, the California Legislature ended 2018 legislative efforts to expand coverage and increase affordability with multiple bills stalling in the Senate and Assembly fiscal committees.

This year the Legislature considered a number of budget proposals as well as legislation to expand Medi-Cal eligibility and improve affordability of individual coverage through state-funded subsidies and cost-sharing support. None of the budget proposals made it into the final 2018-19 state budget passed in late June, but several bills remained moving through the process at that time. For more information on the strategies proposed in 2018, see this ITUP issue brief.

This week, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees held the following bills to expand coverage and improve affordability in committee:

  • Senate Bill (SB) 974 (Lara) extends eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to low-income adults 65 and over who are otherwise eligible but for their immigration status. (As amended May 25, 2018)
  • Assembly Bill (AB) 2965 (Arambula) extends eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals ages 19-25 who are otherwise eligible but for their immigration status. (As amended May 25, 2018)
  • AB 2430 (Arambula) expands Medi-Cal eligibility in the Medi-Cal A&D FPL program by increasing income disregards so that individuals would be eligible up to 138 percent FPL. (As amended June 7, 2017)
  • AB 2459 (Friedman) establishes a state premium tax credit for individuals with incomes between 400 and 600 percent FPL who purchase coverage through Covered California. (As amended August 6, 2018)
  • AB 2565 (Chiu) requires Covered California to offer enhanced premium assistance to consumers with incomes between 138 and 400 percent FPL eligible for federal tax credits. (As amended May 25, 2018)
  • SB 1255 (Hernandez) requires Covered California to administer state financial assistance (defined as premium tax credits or reductions in cost-sharing) to help low- and middle-income Californians afford coverage. (As amended March 21, 2018)

With the failure of these bills, the challenge of addressing the remaining three million uninsured, and improving the affordability of coverage for many families, falls to the next Governor starting in 2019.