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CA Democrats Fighting Over Subsidized Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants

05-22-2019
The flag of the state of California. (Photo Credit: Makaristos via Wikimedia Commons)
The flag of the state of California. (Photo Credit: Makaristos via Wikimedia Commons)

In California, Democrats are fighting with each other over government-subsidized health care for illegal immigrants.

But they're not fighting over if taxpayers bear the medical costs of those living in the state illegally – only about how many migrants should be covered.

Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsome proposes allowing undocumented residents under the age of 26 to enroll in the state's Medicaid program. The plan is estimated to cost the Golden State $98 million a year to operate.

Some Democrat lawmakers want to include low-income people of all ages, regardless of their immigration status, which would amount to an estimated $3.4 billion. 

The state Senate has proposed covering all adults ages 19 to 25, plus all senior citizens 65 and older. Sen. Maria Elana Durazo scoffed at the cost concerns, noting the state has a projected $21.5 billion budget surplus.

"When we have, you know, a good budget, then what's the reason for not addressing it?" she said.

Either move would be a first in the nation.

California is also considering a bill requiring everyone in the state to purchase health insurance. People who refuse would have to pay a penalty, and the money would go toward helping middle-income residents purchase private health insurance plans.

"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," Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone said about coverage of people in the US illegally.

Many immigrants who are in the country illegally are already enrolled for some government-funded programs, but they only cover emergencies and pregnancies.

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

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