Medi-Cal expansion: Legislature’s budget would remove some barriers for low-income residents

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A physician assistant listens to a patient’s heartbeat at a clinic in Bieber, California. The Legislature’s budget would expand Medi-Cal. Valley News/CalMatters/Anne Wernikoff photo
Ana B. Ibarra, Cal Matters Special to Valley News Kming Rosenthal recently inherited $5,000 after her birth mother died last year. Rosenthal, 72, who lives off her Social Security disability benefits and doesn’t have much in savings, welcomed the extra cash. She planned to deposit most of the new money in her savings account, but soon learned that if she wanted to keep her free Medi-Cal coverage, she couldn’t have more than $2,000 in the bank because it would disqualify her from Medi-Cal under what’s known as the “asset test.” Rosenthal, who lives in Orange County, panicked. She needs Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance for low-income Californians, to help cover her pricy HIV medication and other costs not fully covered by Medicare, which covers seniors. She had to sp
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