Tuesday, September 27, 2022

California will cover health care for all immigrants

Sacramento, Calif. ( Associated Press) — California on Thursday became the first US state to guarantee free health care to all low-income immigrants living illegally in the country, a move that benefits an additional 764,000 people at a final cost of about $2.7 billion. Will happen. year.

Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget that includes a commitment to make the state’s Medicaid program accessible to all low-income adults by 2024, regardless of immigration status. It marks a victory for pro-immigrant and health care workers, who have been calling for such change for more than a decade.

Nationwide, the federal and state governments work together to provide free health care to adults and children in low-income families through Medicaid. But the federal government does not fund the care of people living in the country illegally. Some states, including California, have used their own tax resources to cover part of the medical expenses of certain low-income immigrants.

And now California wants to be the first state to provide benefits to all.

About 92% of its residents have some form of health insurance, a factor in which the state ranks nationally among others. But this will change once the budget is implemented, as adults living illegally in the country form one of the largest groups of uninsured people in the state.

“This will be the largest coverage expansion in the country since the Affordable Care Act was established in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the state health care consumer advocacy group Health Access California. “In California, we believe that everyone benefits when they have coverage.”

People living in the country illegally made up about 7% of the country’s population in 2020 — about 22.1 million — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit. These people are not eligible for most public benefit programs, although many of them work and pay taxes.

Immigrants have been slow to gain access to some health care programs. Eighteen states already provide prenatal care to anyone who needs it regardless of immigration status, and the District of Columbia and five states—California, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Washington—less so regardless of immigration. Provide coverage to all children of low income families. Event. Your immigration status. California and Illinois have expanded Medicaid to immigrant older adults.

In California, Republican and conservative groups have opposed the expansion of health care to include immigrants living in the country illegally. John Couple, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association—a nonprofit that fights to prevent tax increases—said that offering free health care would make California “a magnet for those who need to enter the country legally.” not allowed to.”

“I think there’s a lot of understanding for a lot of us in the immigrant community, but we really wish we had better control over the people coming into this country and into this state,” Couple said.

Nation World News Desk
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