Tags: Healthcare Reform | Immigration | california | illegals | healthcare | Medi-Cal

California Moving to Open Obamacare to Illegals

California Moving to Open Obamacare to Illegals
(Tracy King/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 17 July 2015 08:12 AM

California — the state with the most illegal immigrants — may soon offer Obamacare to those in the country illegally.

Politico reports that despite illegal immigrants being "intentionally excluded" from President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, Golden State Sen. Ricardo Lara has spearheaded the Health for All Act.

"We are trying to come up with sensible, progressive policies that help to integrate every Californian," Lara said. "It just makes common sense."

Lara has not discussed the cost of expanding Medi-Cal to low-income illegal immigrants or how the state would pay for it.

Currently, Obamacare prohibits illegal immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid, as well as from receiving subsidies to buy private insurance on the exchange or paying for an Obamacare plan without subsidies.

MSNBC reported last month that the California Senate passed Lara’s bill — by a vote of 28-11 — to allow illegal immigrants to buy health insurance with their own money through the state’s Covered California exchange. To do so, California would need to be granted a waiver by the federal government.

The bill still needs to make it through the state Assembly.

Immigration advocates told Politico that it makes no sense to ban people from purchasing exchange plans with their own money.

"Not allowing certain types of immigrants to pay into the [healthcare] exchange ... is coming back to haunt us fiscally," California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León said.

According to the National Review, California has an estimated illegal immigrant population of 2.5 million out of 38 million residents. Some 1 million of those illegals do not have health insurance.

California’s Medicaid program already uses state money to insure "DREAMers — the young undocumented immigrants who were protected from deportation under the White House’s 2012 deferred action program," Politico reports, noting that New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington also use state funds to cover undocumented children and the District of Columbia funds coverage for undocumented children and adults.

Proponents of including illegals in the health exchange pool say providing them access benefits the entire system.

"In the absence of federal action on comprehensive immigration reform, states and immigrant communities in the states are just tired of waiting," said Gabrielle Lessard, a health policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, told Politico. "It just makes more sense for them as individuals, for the community as a whole, and for the healthcare system."

During the tenure of California Gov. Jerry Brown, the state has already changed laws "granting increased privileges and rights" to those here illegally, according to the National Review.

Last year, Brown signed a law permitting illegal immigrants to get law licenses — the state Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional — though the governor vetoed a law allowing noncitizens to serve on a jury.

And the state assembly voted to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, something that went into effect in January.

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California - the state with the most illegal immigrants - may soon offer Obamacare to those in the country illegally, Politico reports.
california, illegals, healthcare, Medi-Cal
Friday, 17 July 2015 08:12 AM
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