Health Care for Low-Income Californians, Homeless Patients a Focus in Upcoming Bills

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The three bills on which the legislature intends to vote take aim at health disparities among people covered by the state’s low-income health program known as Medi-Cal and the improper discharge of homeless patients from the hospital. Photo: iStock

The state legislature is expected to vote this month on three bills that seek to safeguard and improve the health of Californian residents, particularly those that are low-income or homeless.

Hearings on the three bills are slated for upcoming hearings in Assembly and Senate health committees after they passed through their respective side of the house in May. The bills take aim at health disparities among people covered by the state’s low-income health program known as Medi-Cal and the improper discharge of homeless patients from the hospital. One bill would make permanent a state taskforce focused on improving health across multiple aspects of California life, from education to environment.

Assembly Bill 2275, which goes before the Senate Committee on Health June 20, is designed to improve the quality of health-care services provided through Medi-Cal managed care plans. The goal is to provide an equal level of care to people covered by the plans regardless of race or ethnicity, and improve the overall quality of services by holding plans to higher measurement standards, explained Kimberly Chen, government affairs manager for the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), a statewide health advocacy group that co-sponsored the bill.