The ACA Opportunity for CalFresh

California has a once in a generation opportunity to help all families have the health care and food we all need to thrive!

Get the facts.

Most California families who receive health insurance through Medi-Cal are now also eligible to receive a debit card to purchase groceries through CalFresh -- and vice-versa. With both health coverage and nutrition assistance, families with low incomes can have better health and greater opportunity.

The challenge is that while California has been the best state at signing up eligible families for health coverage, we've historically been the worst at signing up eligible families for CalFresh. That's starting to change and, with your help, all California families can get the health and nutrition we all need to thrive.

Learn more:
Listen to our June 24 webinar >>
Read the presentation slides >>

Our Progress

How are my state and county doing?
Data Dashboard for CalFresh >>

How do I use the Data Dashboard?
The Advocate's Guide to Using the Data Dashboard for CalFresh >>

Take Action!

  1. Sign our petition to the Governor asking him to take action to help every California family get both the health coverage and the food they need to thrive. Sign on now >>
  2. Contact your county leaders and ask them to review how families in your county are doing. Find out how >>
  3. Ask your State Legislators to vote for bills to:
    a) further connect health and nutrition
    b) improve customer service
  4. Spread the word to eligible families about the health and nutrition connection!

The Latest:

First Year Check-Up

December 17th, 2014

By Kim McCoy Wade

One year into the historic Affordable Care Act, are California families connecting to both health coverage and nutrition assistance, with one-stop service?

In short: we don't yet know. Data posted in the CDSS Data Dashboard for CalFresh are still awaiting updates with the latest program information so we can rightly compare "apples to apples"; advocates had hoped to have this data available much earlier in 2014. Meanwhile, we have snapshots of some challenges for families seeking to enroll in both in one-stop, especially amidst the complexity of the ACA roll-out and the Medi-Cal changes, but need to learn more from the data, consumers, and counties.

We DO know that connecting families to both health and nutrition is a top priority for CalFresh leaders at every level: CDSS Director Will Lightbourne and CWDA Executive Director Frank Mecca affirmed this commitment at the December 10 ATC CalFresh Participation Summit. They each said, in their own words, that enrolling eligible Medi-Cal participants in CalFresh (and vice-versa) has the greatest potential to boost CalFresh enrollment by people in need and to reduce hunger and poverty in California. The Alliance agrees!

To that end, a small meeting was convened in mid-December by the CDSS Office of Horizontal Integration and included CDSS CalFresh, DHCS, CWDA, 3 counties and 2 advocates (ATC and Western Center). The group agreed that we need to:

  • Immediately track the key metrics for dual participation in Medi-Cal and CalFresh, including dual enrollment at application point and via Express Lane, both by state and by county, making sure to get the comparisons right.
  • Identify the best practices in counties that work to boost cross-enrollment (and that advocates would like to see become statewide standards for all counties), like cross-training enrollment workers and auto-in-reach to the respective enrollment lists.
  • Advocate for state and federal policies and practices that support horizontal integration, like shared verifications.

Stay tuned for a robust advocates' agenda for 2015 -- now in development -- to maximize families' cross-enrollment in nutrition, health, and other key supports.

Read more here >>

Learn more about the ACA opportunity for CalFresh >>

Share Your Story

Every day, families are getting the health coverage and nutrition assistance that makes a real and significant difference in their lives. Some may find one-stop service, while others may find barriers to getting connected easily. Here's a story from the field:

"A Bay Area family recently applied for health coverage because the father had quit work to finish school so the mom was the only one working -- they were barely making ends meet and found out they qualified for Medi-Cal. An application assister at a community-based organization told them that they could also apply for CalFresh -- the family had no idea that was available to working people, too. They were excited to apply, and even though they found the process and paperwork challenging, they 'were glad to find people who make the process easy.' Now they and their children have both health insurance and help buying groceries, which work together to boost their wages and their well-being."

Share your story with us >>


About Us:

One Stop Health Nutrition is a campaign of the Alliance to Transform CalFresh, whose members include the California Association of Food Banks, California Family Resource Association, California Food Policy Advocates, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Catholic Charities of California United, SF-Marin Food Bank, and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

For more information, please visit

Or, contact Kim McCoy Wade at

Photo Credits:
California capitol: Jessica Patterson
Man drinking coffee: Feeding America