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Lawmakers Move Step Closer To Expanding Medi-Cal

Legislation that would expand health care coverage to an estimated one million low-income Californians has moved a step closer to passing. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the bills would implement part of the federal health care law.

UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Above: UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Both the Assembly and Senate passed bills that would extend health care coverage to people earning below 138 percent of the federal poverty level beginning in 2014. Each bill must now cross over to the other chamber. The vote in the Assembly was mainly along party lines. Republican Don Wagner said the state could end up footing the bill to expand Medi-Cal.

“Somewhere down the road, we run the substantial risk that the federal government will pull the rug out from underneath California and leave our general fund budget on the hook for potentially billions of dollars,” said Wagner.

The federal government will pay for the health coverage expansion for the first three years, and 90-percent of the cost after that. The legislation is also designed to streamline eligibility and enrollment rules for Medi-Cal.

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