California Pushes to Expand Immigrant Health Care

Judy Lin, CNS News, November 30, 2014

President Barack Obama’s executive order to spare some immigrants from deportation has galvanized Democrats, immigration groups and health care advocates in California to push for expanding health coverage to a segment of the population that remains uninsured.

The president’s action excludes immigrants who came to the country illegally from qualifying for federal health benefits. But California has its own policy of providing health coverage with state money to low-income immigrants with so-called “deferred action” that allow them to avoid deportation. Immigrant and health care advocates say that means Obama’s executive order will enable hundreds of thousands of low-income immigrants in California to apply for Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid.

Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, said allowing this expanded group of immigrants to participate in the Medicaid program will enable people to get primary and preventive care, “rather than just at the emergency room.”

The California Department of Health Care Services, however, has yet to receive formal guidance. A state official said it’s too early to tell how the immigration program will impact the overall Medi-Cal program, which is consuming an increasing share of state funds.

Medi-Cal is a health program for the poor paid for by the federal government and the state. It has grown by about 3 million people in California under federal health care reform and now covers more than 11 million Californians, about 30 percent of the state’s population. The federal government is paying for the expansion, but the state will eventually pay 10 percent of additional costs to cover low-income adults, many of whom are childless.

The state is expected to spend more than $17 billion of its own money on the program this year, up 3.5 percent a year ago, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

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The president’s action has also emboldened a Democratic lawmaker to revive a bill that would provide health coverage to all Californians, regardless of their immigration status.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, plans to reintroduce his Health4All bill on Monday to open Medi-Cal to immigrants, as well as extending subsidized health benefits in a new insurance marketplace for those without legal status. The proposal, which previously carried a cost as high as $1.3 billion a year, stalled in a legislative committee last cycle and Republicans had criticized the cost of the expansion.

“The president’s action covers almost half of California’s undocumented population, but that still leaves over a million people with no access to health care. We can do better. The bill will cover those remaining uninsured that will not benefit from Obama’s action,” Lara said.

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  • Incidentally, Willard Romney came out this weekend and said that the Stupid Party should do amnesty legislation.

    That’s who Romney is and was all along on immigration. Any of you who did not want to believe me when I told you that Kris Kobach intimated to me personally that Romney used him as a prop to win the nomination should believe it now.

    • See The Future

      A first class race traitor

    • WR_the_realist

      I’m not surprised. Romney disagrees with Romney on everything. Leave it to the Republicans to nominate Mr. Etch-a-Sketch.

  • JackKrak

    “California Pushes to Expand Immigrant Health Care”

    Is there another kind in California?

    • LexiconD1

      Ugh…I live in CA, this state is a lost cause. Run into the ground by Democrats for the past 45 years, and taken over by ‘immigrants’. I’m leaving soon, to join the other Californians who’ve fled, taking out tax dollars with us.

      Wonder in 10 years if CA will accept pesos as currency?…I bet they do.

      • Whitetrashgang

        In ten years the legal currency will be Pot or a burrito, spare change will be 9 mm ammo.

        • LexiconD1

          Well, then I’m already very very rich, in spare change…

  • TruthBeTold

    Just a couple days after the passage of the ACA I saw an online video with Hispanics asking ‘What about us?’

  • See The Future

    California is bankrupt

    • WR_the_realist

      Financially and morally.

    • evilsandmich

      Apparently not bankrupt enough…

  • Citizens already pay for everything else the illegals want, why not healthcare? lol

    The US is a joke. California is lost.

    Northwestfront(dot)org

    • Yves Vannes

      We already do pay for it. ER overuse, etc. That’s why so many hospitals and ERs have closed down. Especially in the southland.

    • phillyguy

      We will need the northern half of California, the vegetable basket to the US,the Browns can have the southern half of California

      • LexiconD1

        You do know that the northern half of CA (So CA doesn’t get opportunity to vote her out) is where Nancy Pelosi, and Jerry Brown is from, and voted into office, right?

        • phillyguy

          We will need the fertile farmlands and the wine country for the new United States of white European Americans.

          • LexiconD1

            Then you’d better think of how you’re going to deal with the totally stupid ignorant people who live there. They don’t care about YOU, which is why they keep voting Pelosi back in office (truthfully, I’m not sure what ‘they’ get out of doing so?)

  • Michael Whalen

    A little aside, here, concerning Obamacare, Single Payer Health Care or whatever. No one wants to say this out loud, but some of the most strident advocates of nationalized health care can be found in the so called “gay” community. If you have AIDS or HIV, the medications necessary to keep you alive and functioning can range in cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars per month.

    • JohnEngelman

      Wait until Ebola starts spreading.

  • WR_the_realist

    I’m so glad I don’t live in California. No amount of beautiful weather can compensate for its insane politics. All you folks in the golden state now get to pay for the health care of illegal immigrants, if the Dems get their wish. You’re already subsidizing the college tuition for their anchor babies.