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.

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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.

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H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the Department of Finance, said Brown wants to boost state reserves and avoid committing to unsustainable spending.

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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.’

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