California’s progressive politics are taking yet one more step forward. On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom revealed his new budget proposal which includes expanding the state’s Medi-Cal health coverage to all low-income illegal immigrants in the state.
National Review reports: “The Golden State already began offering coverage to low-income illegal immigrants 26 and under in 2019 and added coverage for those 55 and older last year. Now, the Democratic governor has proposed covering the remainder beginning no sooner than January 1, 2024.”
As the Associated Press notes, Newsom did not unveil a plan on how to pay for the massive additional costs, nor how he would phase in the coverage. This move makes California the first state to provide universal health care access for all residents regardless of legal status.
One legislative analysis estimated the cost could be upwards of $2.4 billion per year. National Review writes the expansion is included in Newsom’s $286 billion state budget which “makes use of a projected $45.7 billion surplus.”
Newsom’s bill does include $300 million to beef up law enforcement efforts, a necessary tool after liberal policies have increased retail theft tremendously. His bill also includes “$2 billion for mental health services, housing and cleaning homeless encampments to address the state’s homelessness problem.”
Newsom identifies “existential threats” that face the state as justification for his spending proposals. Those include the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires and drought brought on by global warming, homelessness, income inequality which includes the lack of health insurance for illegal immigrants and public safety.
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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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