California Bets Big on Housing in Medicaid

Smiling man sitting on neatly made bed with folded quilt and stack books nearby
Dale Stout is one of the first people to benefit from the additional housing supports in California’s new Medi-Cal initiative, CalAIM. Photo: Ryan Levi, Tradeoffs
Portrait of Jacey Cooper
Jacey Cooper. Photo: José Luis Villegas

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.

Listen to the full 33-minute episode of Tradeoffs or read the transcript.


José Luis Villegas

José Luis Villegas is a freelance photojournalist based in Sacramento, California, where he does editorial and commercial work. He has coauthored three books on Latino/x baseball. His work appears in the Ken Burns documentary The 10th Inning and in the ¡Pleibol! exhibition that debuted at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and has been appearing at museums around the country. Read More

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