California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Democrats at Odds Over Scope of Medi-Cal Expansion Under ACA

California Democrats are at odds over how large the state should make its expansion of Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.

Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 12/10).


Under the reform law, states have the option of expanding Medicaid coverage to individuals with incomes of up to 133% of the federal poverty level. The law’s Medicaid expansion provision also will expand coverage to low-income adults who have no children (California Healthline, 7/16).

The federal government has given states the option of offering less comprehensive benefits to new beneficiaries and making the pool smaller.

Medi-Cal currently enrolls nearly eight million beneficiaries.

If California implements the full expansion, it could offer coverage to 1.5 million more residents.

Scope of Expansion

According to "KPCC News," Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) administration appears to be backing away from efforts to implement a full expansion.

At a recent symposium, Diana Dooley -- secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency -- said, "[I]f we disappoint early because we didn't go as far as people want, it's because we have to build this on a solid foundation and be ready to make it real over the long term."

However, certain Democratic leaders are seeking a full expansion, according to "KPCC News."

Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez (D-West Covin) said, "I have every intention to make sure that every single person has the fullest amount of benefits available and draw down as many federal dollars as we possibly can" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 12/10). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.