Clea Benson, Sacramento Bee, June 16, 2006
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger distanced himself from his fellow Republicans on Thursday on one of the main issues holding up the state budget: whether the state should provide health care for all children, including those who are undocumented immigrants.
Republicans in the Legislature say they won’t vote for a spending plan if it includes about $22 million the governor is proposing for county health insurance programs that cover all children, including those who are undocumented. Republicans also oppose another $1.8 million Democrats added as a first step toward allowing all children to qualify for state health care programs that serve low — and moderate-income families.
At a news conference Thursday, Schwarzenegger agreed with Democrats that the state should provide coverage to children regardless of their immigration status.
“For me, we should not politicize the children and drag them into this,” Schwarzenegger said. “Children need to get all the attention if they are here legally or illegally. Every child should have the right to some health care and the schooling and so on.”
The state currently provides some health services to undocumented children, including emergency medical care and disability screening programs. The federal government also requires states to provide prenatal care and labor and delivery services to undocumented immigrants who are pregnant.