June 6, 2023

Food Security icon Food Security

I recently celebrated with one of my patients as she met a major health goal: she maintained well-controlled blood sugar and blood pressure levels for a full year. In the eight years since our first visit, she struggled with consistent management of her diabetes, in large part due to challenges affording medications and nutritious food. In addition to caring for her two young children, she spent years as the primary supporter for her mother who suffered from complications from a severe stroke. Witnessing her mother’s decline in health only furthered this resilient young woman’s resolve to improve her own health, and I was excited to see her making progress towards this precious goal. 

Sadly, our shared joy was tempered by the harrowing realization that she might soon lose access to essential safety net services that buoyed the improvements in her health. We both knew that a significant part of her success was based on consistent Medi-Cal coverage and access to associated anti-hunger and anti-poverty support programs. The end of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration on May 11, 2023, marked a reversal or regression of hundreds of federal and state legislative flexibilities that allowed for expansion of Medi-Cal services for the most vulnerable communities in California. 

Major Risks of the Great Unwinding of Medi-Cal Enrollments
For my patient and millions of other Californians who live at the margins of the social safety net, a critical piece of federal legislation prevented eligible patients from automatic disenrollment from Medi-Cal throughout the height of the COVID...

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