As part of his State of the State, Governor Jerry Brown called for a special session of the State Legislature to address the Affordable Care Act. With just 11 months until full implementation, the supporting programs still need to be designed, built, agreed upon and implemented.

On the first day of the special session, the leaders of both the Assembly and Senate joined together to introduce AB1X 1, which would expand Medi-Cal coverage for those making up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – an expansion that makes California eligible for 100 percent funding for the program through the first three years.  Had the bill stopped short of 138 percent of FPL, the state would have limited its funding eligibility.

The plan, as presented by Speaker Perez, will allow about 1 million additional low-income Californians to access the safety net healthcare services provided by Medi-Cal.

“By expanding Medi-Cal eligibility, we will ensure more than one million low-income Californians have quality healthcare,” said Speaker Perez. “Ensuring access to quality and affordable care is a critical priority for Californians, and I am proud of California’s national leadership in implementing these groundbreaking measures.”

In the Senate, Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg introduced SB1X, which would also expand Medi-Cal services for up to 1.6 million Californians, according to a press release issued by Steinberg.

“Expanding health care coverage brings stability to California’s wider economy, especially young adults, the Latino community, and the self-employed,” said Steinberg in a statement. “No illness should force financial devastation on individuals or their families. Limiting access to routine check-ups often leads to severe sickness, expensive treatment, and even greater distress for families.”

A second piece of legislation was introduced into the Senate, SB 2X, which will require heal insurance coverage to conform with the Affordable Care Act. Among the changes required by the ACA and SB 2X, are prohibition against denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and a prohibition from charging higher premiums based on an individual’s health status.