California forges ahead with health care for illegal immigrants

May 21, 2019

California’s governor, state Assembly and Senate are pushing for extending government-funded health care coverage to illegal immigrants, though they currently differ on how to go about doing so. [NBC News]

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who campaigned on a platform of universal health care, is proposing spending about $98 million a year to cover low-income illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25. If the state were to adopt his proposal, California would become the first state in the country to offer government-funded health care to adult illegal immigrants. Nonetheless, both houses of the Legislature are discussing even more generous proposals.

The state Senate is proposing legislation that would cover adults 19 to 25 and seniors 65 and older. Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, the sponsor of the bill, has scoffed at concerns about the cost, noting the state has a projected $21.5 billion budget surplus.

An Assembly bill would go even further, covering all illegal immigrants above the age of 19. Newsom has withheld support for the plan because of its estimated $3.4 billion price tag.

“There’s 3.4 billion reasons why it is a challenge,” Newsom said.

The Senate and Assembly will finalize their budget proposals this week before starting negotiations with the governor. State law requires that a budget be passed by June 15 or lawmakers forfeit their pay.

Republic state Sen. Jeff Stone criticized the idea of government-funded health coverage for illegal immigrants.

“We’re going to penalize the citizens of this state that have followed the rules, but we’re going to let somebody who has not followed the rules come in here and get the services for free. I just think that’s wrong,” Stone said.

The proposals California is considering would put the state on yet another collision course with the Trump Administration, which has proposed a regulation that would hinder immigrants’ residency applications if they receive public assistance in the form of programs like Medicaid.

California has 3 million residents who do not have health insurance. Of those 3 million residents, about 1.8 million are illegal immigrants, legislative staffers say. About 1.26 million of the illegal immigrants who lack health insurance have incomes low enough to qualify for Medi-Cal.

Meanwhile, California is also considering a proposal to require all state residents to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Funds raised from the penalty would go toward assisting middle-income residents purchase private health insurance plans.


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mercut1469

Well, of course, all people living in California need to have access to health care. Why would the state open itself up to third world maladies simply because we won’t offer everyone in the state a health plan. If they’re here, they should be able to access health care—DUH!


Gene Burns was a long time voice on SF Bay radio. For many years he was a hard line libertarian—ran as a Lib VP in the 80’s. Not long after, he traveled to Tahiti, a French territory. He came down very badly ill on his visit and had to be hospitalized. When he came back, he was much changed. He basically said that the Tahitians had saved his life and his bill for hospital services was—ZERO. He was not a French citizen, France had long entitled all of its guests or residents, legal or no, to a basic right, health care. Is America not far better than France in its compassion? I hope so.


What we need is comprehensive immigration reform that we might have by now with any other Republican president. Instead, Trump has decided to demagogue the issue as he does with most everything. Universal health care is imminent. Why won’t the Republicans embrace ti.


giblets56

So I guess I, as a citizen, who has NO insurance gets to pay for my medical needs as well as illegal immigrants’??? Totally unconstitutional and a slap in the face!


mercut1469

So, why do you not have HI? You should have job related insurance, or you should qualify for the ACA or Medicare. Or, do you fall in that netherworld where you make more than would qualify for ACA or MC? If so, you should be pushing for a public option and fighting like hell for the precise legislation which would cover all Californians. Simple logic, unless you really like paying your doctor thousands of dollars.


DPINC

So if I live in any country in the world ….I just sneak into California and receive the 1 million dollar surgery that I need but can’t get in my home country ….Plus if I stay I get all the other freebies ….Huh !!!!How can this be allowed …. there is already millions of non USA citizens receiving social security while living in there home country .


mercut1469

You wouldn’t even be thinking of coming to the USA if you were a resident of another first world country. It would be automatically free in Canada or any European country as well as Japan or New Zealand or Australia.


I live in Arizona for the winter months and I know several Canadians who come down to live in AZ (Snow birds)—they all return home to Canada when they need health care. Why not—IT’S FREE! Unlike the ridiculous system in the USA which drains our economy of almost 20% of our GDP!