(RightWing.org) – California lawmakers enacted Medi-Cal, the state’s implementation of the federal Medicaid program, shortly after former President Lyndon Johnson signed the measure into law in July 1965. Roughly 15.28 million Californians were eligible for coverage as of September 2022, or about 38% of the total population, including 1.28 million children. However, the program has significant flaws, and new legislation proposed by Democratic lawmakers regarding one aspect of the program has triggered alarm bells regarding the possible emancipation of kids 12 years old and up — over gender.
On June 22, California lawmakers ordered a third reading of recent revisions to AB-665 Minors: consent to mental health services, a bill to create consistency between two existing laws regarding the ability of children aged 12 and older to consent to outpatient mental health counseling and treatment or residential shelter services. Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-District 52) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-District 11) introduced the measure on February 13.
Children currently receiving treatment without Medi-Cal coverage under Health and Safety Code §124260 can consent to treatment if they are deemed by a “professional person” to be “mature enough” to intelligently participate in the services. Under Family Code §6924, kids with Medi-Cal insurance must meet the additional burden of presenting a risk of “serious” harm to themselves or others or are the “alleged” victims of child abuse or incest.
If passed into law, AB-665 aligns those two statutes by removing the additional requirements mandated by FC §6924. The bill also adds several categories of professionals, like registered psychological assistants and associate clinical social workers. Currently, the list includes vague types like “mental health” professionals and the “chief administrator of an agency.”
California Moves Toward Giving Therapists Unconditional Power To 'Emancipate' 12 Year Olds From Their Parentshttps://t.co/Bobx1Mfv4d
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) June 22, 2023
Several lawmakers, experts, and parents have expressed concerns about the measure’s passage. For example, Nicole Pearson, an attorney who testified before lawmakers about the bill, warned that the law would let a 12-year-old “opt out of their home on a whim… without any claim of danger or parental consent.” “This [law] is child emancipation,” she explained.
Additionally, The Washington Free Beacon reported that although AB-665 doesn’t specifically mention gender identity, Wiener has consistently pushed legislative measures promoting the right of underaged children to receive gender-affirming treatments. Alarmingly, he recently co-authored a bill to make parents’ refusal to acknowledge their children’s “transgender identity” as grounds for limiting or revoking their custody.
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