Gov. Brown Signs Bill That Could Help Immigrants Get Access to Health Insurance

Soumya Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2016

Under a bill signed Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown, California will become the first state to ask federal officials to allow immigrants here illegally to buy insurance through its state health exchange.

Immigrants here illegally can’t purchase coverage through the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. Under SB 10, the state will formally ask the federal government to allow such immigrants to buy insurance through Covered California, without cost to the state or federal government.

“The current policy disallowing immigrants from purchasing care with their own money is both discriminatory and outdated,” Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who wrote the bill, said in a statement. “I thank Gov. Brown for advancing justice today.”

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The federal permission sought through SB 10 would allow as many as 390,000 immigrants who earn an income too high to qualify for Medi-Cal to purchase healthcare through the exchange, according to Lara’s office. They would not receive public subsidies to reduce the cost of buying insurance.

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Last year, the number of California counties committed to providing low-cost, government-run medical care to such residents jumped from 11 to 48.

And Brown signed a bill allowing 170,000 immigrants in the country illegally and under the age of 19 to sign up for Medi-Cal. The expansion took effect last month.

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