California Bets Big on Housing in Medicaid
California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), a multi-year plan to transform the California’s Medicaid program, went live on January 1 of this year. While CalAIM’s broad reach is intended to help all Medi-Cal enrollees, many of its reforms focus on improving care for specific populations. One of them is the estimated 161,000 Californians who are experiencing homelessness, especially those who have complex physical or behavioral health needs. CalAIM’s goal for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness is to provide a whole-person approach to care and to better address the social factors that affect their health.
A new episode of the health policy podcast Tradeoffs sheds light on CalAIM’s origin story through the experiences of Medi-Cal’s director, Jacey Cooper. It also profiles two Medi-Cal enrollees, one unhoused and one with temporary housing provided through CalAIM, to illustrate why CalAIM is needed, what it can deliver, and some of the challenges that lie ahead.