Democrats in California’s state legislature agreed on June 9 to allow 19- to 25-year-old illegal aliens to receive Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program. The program is partly funded by federal dollars. The budget would also fine people who don’t buy health insurance and a health insurance subsidy for middle-income families, under which a family of four can earn up to $154,500 per year and still qualify.
The agreement was reached in a conference committee to reconcile Senate and Assembly versions of budget bills that included the Medi-Cal provision within them. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s June 9 statement about the agreement cited “expanded health care subsidies” but did not mention that it included benefits for illegal aliens. In his statement, Newsom thanked Budget Committee chairs Senator Holly Mitchell and Assembly member Phil Ting for their work in reaching an agreement.
“California believes that health is a fundamental right,” said Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who led the budget negotiations.
A report from NPR noted that state officials estimate that the healthcare program would provide coverage for about 138,000 residents and will cost taxpayers $98 million during its first year of operation.
Seventy-five percent of the recipients are already covered by the Medi-Cal system, and are either receiving restricted-scope benefits or services under SB 75, which went into effect back in 2016. A description of SB 75 on the California Department of Health Care Services website notes: “Under a new law that will be implemented no sooner than May 1, 2016, children under 19 years of age are eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits, regardless of immigration status, as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements.” (Emphasis added.)
NPR noted that an effort put forth by some Democrats to include seniors who are in the country illegally in the plan were rejected by Newsom and other legislators.
That report also stated that the agreement is part of a massive $213 billion budget plan that is also the first in the nation: It will increase eligibility for health insurance subsidies under the Covered California program to middle-class families earning up to 600 percent of the federal poverty level. Under those guidelines, a family of four can earn up to $154,500 per year and still qualify for a discount.
The programs will be partially funded by tax dollars collected from fines paid by Californians who refuse health insurance coverage, similar to the individual mandate penalty imposed by the Obama administration under ObamaCare.
The full state legislature is expected to vote on and pass the budget bill later this week.
A CBS News report stated that Republicans on the conference committee voted against the proposal, arguing that it was not fair to give health benefits to people who are in the country illegally while taxing people who are here legally for not purchasing health insurance.
This latest addition to the millions of tax dollars being spent by the state of California for questionable programs is yet another reason why the state is going broke and California workers and businesses are leaving the state in droves.