Illegal Immigrants to Be Given $1bn for Healthcare Under Contentious New California Democratic Proposal
Sophie Inge, Daily Mail, Decembert 15, 2017
California, flush with cash from an expanding economy, would eventually spend $1 billion a year to provide health care to immigrants living in the state illegally under a proposal.
The proposal, announced on Wednesday by Democratic lawmakers, would eliminate legal residency requirements in California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, as the state has already done for young people up to age 19.
It’s part of $4.3 billion in new spending proposed by Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who leads the budget committee.
Assembly Democrats also want to expand a tax credit for the working poor, boost preschool and child care, and increase college scholarships to reduce reliance on student loans.
They also would commit $3.2 billion more than required to state budget reserves.
Many are people living in the country illegally, who are ineligible for U.S.-funded health care assistance.
While federal funds cover at least half — and as much 95 percent — of the cost for citizens and legal U.S. residents on Medi-Cal, the state would have to pick up the cost on its own for people living here illegally.
Expanding access to health care has been a contentious issue for California lawmakers, who targeted last year by protests from liberal activists who want the Legislature to provide state-funded coverage to everyone, regardless of immigration status.
H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the Department of Finance, said Brown wants to boost state reserves and avoid committing to unsustainable spending.
Ting, the head of the Assembly budget committee, said lawmakers were exploring ways to restructure the state tax code if Congress approves a proposed U.S. tax overhaul.
California leaders have warned that the measure could harm taxpayers by restricting a federal deduction for state and local taxes, which is especially lucrative in high-tax states like California.
‘I’m very concerned that this tax cut is a tax increase for middle-class and working-class Californians,’ Ting said. ‘So we are looking at ways that we can help mitigate that.’