‘The exclusion of undocumented elders from the same health care their U.S. citizen neighbors are eligible for means beloved community members will suffer and die…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) California will become the first state to provide free healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget.
Under the new bill, made by Newsom and Democrats in the state legislature, low-income illegals between the ages of 19 and 25 would be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The budget must be passed by June 15, but the plan wouldn’t take effect until January 2020.
The program would be part of the $213 billion budget and would cost $98 million. Lawmakers said they introduced this program because of an “extraordinary” state budget surplus.
The 2020 budget also includes a fine on individuals who don’t buy state health care plans—an individual-mandate penalty originally implemented under Obamacare that was rolled back by Republicans in 2017.
Newsom said imposing these fines at the state level will help keep premiums from rising and will improve state healthcare programs.
“While it’s not all we sought, it will provide a real tangible difference for people, especially for those around and below poverty and for middle income families who don’t get any help under the federal law,” Anthony Wright, executive director of advocacy group Health Access, told The Sacramento Bee.
Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, said the plan doesn’t do enough for illegal immigrants.
She said it should also provide health benefits to illegal seniors and extend the earned income tax credit to low-income illegals.
“For California’s immigrant communities, today’s budget deal is bittersweet,” Buiza said in a statement.
“The exclusion of undocumented elders from the same health care their U.S. citizen neighbors are eligible for means beloved community members will suffer and die from treatable conditions,” she said. “And the exclusion of many immigrants from the Earned Income Tax Credit will perpetuate the crisis of economic inequality in our state.”