Medi-Cal at a Crossroads: What Enrollees Say About the Program

Lake Research Partners


This is archived content, for historical reference only.

Medi-Cal provides health and long-term care coverage for more than 7.5 million Californians. If the Affordable Care Act is enacted as legislated, enrollment will grow dramatically as millions more become eligible for the program. Understanding Medi-Cal’s strengths and opportunities for improvement will help policymakers identify needed changes and provide a baseline for measuring the impact of any changes.

A CHCF survey explores who is enrolled, challenges they face, what is working, the enrollment process, and access to care. The complete report and survey data tables are available as Document Downloads.

In the videos below, four people reflect on their experiences with Medi-Cal. Two videos provide the state’s perspective and the challenges ahead.

Coverage That Works

For Theron Brown and his profoundly deaf teenage daughter, Medi-Cal coverage is the best option. He found good health providers who serve the hearing impaired, and his family has been very pleased with her care and the access to services.

Difficult Choices

Jolina Barsanti’s husband and their two young children depend on Medi-Cal. Based on their income, the family pays a share of the cost for this coverage. They sometimes delay needed care because of the cost.

Treat the Whole Patient

As a woman on disability with kidney and mental health issues, Skye Carlton thinks more integration of physical and mental health care through Medi-Cal would support a more preventive — and less reactive — approach to her care.

Mixed Emotions

A serious car accident in 1999 led to years of pain and health woes for Elizabeth Madrid. She and her daughter have faced Medi-Cal enrollment and access challenges over the years, but she appreciates what the program provides.

State Perspective

Toby Douglas, director of the California Department of Health Care Services, is responsible for the oversight of the Medi-Cal program. He shares his inside perspective of the program.

Challenges and New Opportunities

Rep. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), chair of the California Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and a longtime advocate for low-income health coverage, discusses challenges facing the strained program and opportunities ahead.