Governor Newsom and our State Legislature came to a budget agreement earlier this week that preserves key low-income programs that older adults depend on for their health, safety and wellbeing. This will especially protect those hardest hit in this pandemic, including Blacks, Latinos, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. We are grateful to Governor Newsom and the Legislature for preserving the programs that give older adults access to health care and home and community-based services. This helps keep our older adults out of nursing homes at a time when they are a particularly dangerous place to be.
Below is a summary of the programs preserved from our partners at Justice in Aging:
- Home and Community-Based Services. The budget preserves Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS), the Multi-Purpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), and In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). Maintaining these programs reduces the need for older adults to seek care in nursing homes or other congregate settings in which over fifty percent of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred.
- Medi-Cal Coverage and Benefits. The budget preserves Medi-Cal coverage for seniors and people with disabilities with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level; maintains current Medi-Cal estate recovery rules; and preserves current dental and other critical Medi-Cal benefits. Unfortunately, however, the final agreement does not extend Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented seniors, leaving thousands who are at most risk during this pandemic without access to health care.
- SSI/SSP. The budget maintains current SSI/SSP benefit levels.
- Other Senior Programs. The budget preserves senior nutrition, caregiver resource centers, long-term care ombudsman, aging and disability resource centers, and Independent Living Centers.
While this budget agreement preserves existing programs older Californians need, without increased revenues, cuts still loom and racial inequities remain unaddressed. Yet, today however, we celebrate California’s preservation of existing support programs for older adults.