California will treat elderly illegal immigrants for free
California Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature on Friday, June 25, presented the state budget plan. The plan expands Medi-Cal coverage for low-income illegal immigrants and illegal immigrants aged 50 and over. The edition told in more detail SacBee.
The state is expected to sign the budget next week.
The proposed expansion brings California closer to becoming the first state in the nation to expand health coverage to all of its low-income residents, regardless of immigration status. The state expanded Medi-Cal coverage for illegal children in 2016 and illegal young people to age 26 in 2020.
The innovations will take effect in 2022 and will cost the state $ 1,3 billion.
Newsom originally included in his budget last year an extension of Medi-Cal coverage for illegal immigrants over 65, but citing an expected budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, canceled it. He again proposed to his revised budget plan, released in May, to expand coverage for illegal immigrants over 60.
Immigrant advocates and members of the California Hispanic Legislature have championed these measures for years.
“California is playing a leading role in integrating illegal immigrants into the wider society at a time when the federal government is at an impasse over comprehensive immigration policy reform,” said Paulette Cha, a fellow at the California Institute for Policy Studies.
Isabelle, 77, a Perris resident, who asked not to be named because she is an illegal immigrant, said she was delighted with the expansion.
A former worker from Mexico noted that her immigration status often prevented her from seeking medical help.
“With this coverage, you can now go to the doctor,” she said. “A lot of people need it, and not just me.”
Throughout the pandemic, “a lot of attention was paid to those who were left behind,” said Sarah Dar, director of health policy and social benefits for the California Center for Immigration and Policy.
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Dar added that years of advocacy, the disproportionate damage done to immigrant communities by the COVID-19 pandemic, and budget surpluses have helped make the issue a priority for many state legislators.
Meanwhile, a recent statewide poll showed that 66% of California residents approved an increase in health insurance coverage for illegal immigrants.
California, home to about 2 million illegal immigrants, is the largest state in the United States in terms of the number of illegal immigrants. About every tenth employee in the state is illegal.
Member of Parliament Joaquin Arambula is pushing for legislation that will extend Medi-Cal coverage to all illegal Californians, regardless of age.
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