Posted on January 2, 2024

California Becomes First State to Offer Health Insurance to All Illegal Migrants

Ruth Bashinsky, Daily Mail, January 1, 2024

California has become the first state to offer universal health insurance to all illegal migrants regardless of whether they have any documentation.

On January 1, taxpayers will now be forced to fork out thousands for medical care for an additional 700,000 undocumented immigrants – between 26 and 49 – eligible for full coverage under Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program.

It comes as more than a staggering 1.5 million are pouring across the southern border every year many of them seeking shelter in California’s Democrat-run ‘sanctuary cities.’

Previously, undocumented immigrants were not qualified to receive health insurance under Medi-Cal unless there was an emergency or pregnancy related issue.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers agreed in 2022 to provide health care access to all low-income adults regardless of their immigration status through the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal.

The expansion will eventually cost the state about $3.1 billion per year, the Associated Press reported.

The move has been criticized by the California Senate Republican Caucus, who stated that the state’s Medicaid program is ‘already strained by serving 14.6 million Californians – more than a third of the state’s population. Adding 764,000 more individuals to the system will certainly exacerbate current provider access problems.’

But, Newsom’s office told ABC News, in part, that ‘in California, we believe everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care coverage – regardless of income or immigration status.’

The Public Policy Institute of California defines ‘undocumented -also known as illegal or unauthorized -immigrants, a population that is not directly identified in any representative national or state surveys.

Newsom said, ‘through this expansion, we’re making sure families and communities across California are healthier, stronger, and able to get the care they need when they need it.’

Earlier this year, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo said opening up Medi-Cal to all undocumented Californians has been a goal for health and immigration advocates for years and applauded the news.

She said, ‘this historic investment speaks to California’s commitment to health care as a human right.’

Before Newsom became governor, then governor Jerry Brown signed a bill in 2015, that only allowed undocumented children to join Medi-Cal in 2015, as long as they met eligibility requirements, including income limits and California residency in 2014.

In 2019, Newsom signed a law granting eligibility to those younger than 26, and in May, California started covering people aged 50 and over.

The state senator’s office explainrf that Californians are eligible for Medi-Cal coverage based on their income. This year’s income cap for a family of four is $36,156.

Medi-Cal is also available to to people with certain medical conditions, and those who are pregnant, blind, disabled, under age 21, living in a nursing home or are a recently settled refugee.

Sarah Dar, director of Health and Public Benefits Policy at the California Immigrant Policy Center said the ‘budget investment reflects California’s values of inclusion and fairness and should be a model for the rest of the nation.’

‘All Californians, regardless of their age or where they were born, should have access to basic necessities like food and fair, steady wages,’ Dar said.

Undocumented residents remain the largest group of uninsured in California, according to a recent analysis from the the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

California still has the largest population of undocumented immigrants in America, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, Axios San Francisco reported.

It’s latest data from 2021, placed the undocumented population at 10.5 million and of that number 1.85 million, about five percent of its total population, was in California.

In 2023, more than 500,000 people crossed the border illegally into California, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection data and preliminary gotaway data exclusively obtained by The Center Square.

This number is up from nearly 302,000 in fiscal 2022, as per the news outlet.