An Apple a Day: Food Can Be Medicine for Low-Income Californians Under Health Care Plans

In a drab gray government room in Sacramento, Rosalina Michel nervously sat in an avocado green chair. She had traveled more than 360 miles to speak at this hearing with elected officials to share her fear of her pre-diabetes diagnosis. Then she recalled how her doctor offered a simple solution.

“I didn’t want to be a diabetic. I did not want to be on insulin all my life. I wanted to see my grandkids grow,” said Michel, a Los Angeles native and San Fernando resident. Michel receives health coverage through Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for those with limited income. Michel’s doctor had referred her to a pilot program that, through Medi-Cal, prescribes and pays for food as medicine.

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