Democratic governor says California should be first state to provide healthcare to all residents regardless of immigration status
If the plan is approved by state legislators later this year, Newsom said, all low-income Californians will qualify for the state’s Medicaid program beginning in January 2024, called Medi-Cal. is known as.
California first extended health coverage to children entering the US without legal authorization in 2016 and later expanded those benefits to young adults until age 26. Last year, California became the first state in the country to allow senior citizens age 50 and older. are not citizens or legal residents to participate in the program.
Once fully implemented, the Medi-Cal expansion is expected to cost about $2.2 billion a year, Newsom said. The proposed spending is partly due to a $45.7 billion state budget surplus projected for the fiscal year beginning in July, due to increased receipts from high-income earners that account for a substantial portion of the state’s income and capital gains. pay the share. do.
“I believe we can do this within budget constraints,” said Mr Newsom, when asked whether the outlay would be sustainable at a news conference on his budget proposal.
Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights, said the expansion is particularly important at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income immigrant communities.
Mary Waldron, the Republican minority leader in the state legislature, opposes the expansion because she says Medi-Cal is already failing to adequately serve the nearly 14 million people who currently have the program in a state with a population of 40 million. make use of. “Enrolling millions more people into the system would take a lot less work, but people would get an expensive insurance card that would not give them access to quality healthcare,” she said.
Republicans unsuccessfully opposed last year’s law that expanded Medi-Cal to senior citizens who had entered the United States illegally.
Some Democrats, who have an overwhelming majority in both houses of California’s legislature, have previously proposed expanding Medi-Cal to all residents, regardless of immigration status. With Mr Newsom’s backing, the proposal now has a good chance of becoming law.
Some Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a statewide single payer health system. They recently released a framework that would impose new taxes on businesses, payroll and personal income for the lowest-income individuals.
Mr Newsom declined to comment on that proposal on Monday.
Write Christine Mai-Duke [email protected] Feather