2021 Advocacy Letters & Statements

Support California Assembly Bill 470 to Eliminate Medi-Cal Assets Test

May 17, 2021 – Bill 470

The Honorable Anthony Rendon
California State Assembly Speaker

Dear Speaker Rendon:

Thank you for your leadership during these challenging times. Catholic Charities of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties supports Assembly Bill 470 (Carillo) to stop the use of the assets tests as a method of determining eligibility for Medi-Cal, including in the Medicare Savings Program.

Currently, an individual enrolled in the Aged & Disabled Medi-Cal program is restricted to no more than $2,000 in a bank account and a couple is restricted to $3,000. These limits, in place since 1989, effectively prevent seniors and many people with disabilities from saving enough money to weather a crisis such as an eviction, a leaking roof, or a major vehicle repair, and with so little potential savings put them at risk of significant financial instability or homelessness.

The Medi-Cal program has long allowed certain exclusions to the asset test, including real property used as a primary residence. This rule disproportionately punishes people of color because they are more likely to have cash savings, instead of an exempt home, further exacerbating the racial wealth divide.

At Catholic Charities, we have seen the need for our human services double during the pandemic. We currently provide human services to 60,000 people annually in the Bay Area through our dedicated frontline staff to meet essential needs such as housing and food for individuals and families of all backgrounds. Access to healthcare is a fundamental need for our clients. Eliminating the Medi-Cal assets tests will allow vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities of all races and ethnicities to access Medi-Cal without spending down their savings.

On behalf of Catholic Charities, please accept our strong support for AB 470. People should not have to stop saving to get health care.


Jilma Meneses
Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities
San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties

cc: California State Assembly member Wendy Carillo
California State Assembly member David Chiu