Proposed Medicaid For Illegals Could Cost Cali $740 Million Annually
California is considering dropping nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars every year to provide health insurance for illegal immigrants in the state.
A new Senate fiscal analysis found the proposal to extend subsidized health insurance to illegal immigrants in the state and to allow others to purchase coverage, could cost as much as $740 million annually, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Federal law already requires California to provide emergency and pregnancy services to its estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants through California’s Medicaid program Medi-Cal. Those services cost the state and federal government a combined $1.1 billion last year. (RELATED: Report: 2 Billion Spent Annually For Medicaid Emergencies, Largely For Illegal Immigrant Baby Delivery)
The new proposal would extend Medi-Cal eligibility or the opportunity to purchase a private insurance plan to all illegal immigrants. Those with lower incomes could sign up for free Medi-Cal coverage, and those with higher incomes could purchase a plan through a special marketplace administered by California’s Obamacare exchange.
Illegal immigrants are barred from Obamacare coverage, and California would have to apply for a federal waiver to set up the separate exchange, which California would pay for, reported the Contra Costa Times.
The bill is Sen. Ricardo Lara’s second attempt to extend health insurance coverage to illegals. His first would have extended Medi-Cal coverage eligibility to all illegal immigrants, regardless of income, and had a $1.3 billion price tag. That bill failed last year.
The new version is stuck in the Senate until the end of May, when it can be reviewed against the state budget, and then either brought to the floor for a vote or rejected.
“Access to health care is a human rights issue and until everyone is included, our work is unfinished,” Lara said in a December statement introducing the second bill. “I look forward to working with a broad coalition of immigrant, health care and legislative advocates to achieve the goal of health for all in the coming year.”
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