California will be the first state to guarantee free medical care to all low-income migrants who live illegally in the country .. With a final cost of approximately $ 2.7 billion annually, we will provide compensation to an additional 764,000 people.
Governor Gavin Newsom was expected to sign Thursday as part of an operating budget of $ 307.9 billion. Low-income adults are committed to being eligible for the State Medicaid Program by 2024, regardless of immigration status. This is a long-awaited victory for healthcare and immigration activists who have sought change for over a decade.
Nationally, federal and state governments work together to provide free medical care to low-income adults and children through Medicaid. But the federal government does not pay people who live illegally in the country. Some states, including California, use their own taxes to cover some of the medical costs of some low-income migrants.
Well, California wants to do it first for everyone.
Currently, about 92% of Californians have some form of health insurance, and the state is by far the best in the country. But when this budget is fully implemented, things change as adults living in the country illegally form one of the largest uninsured groups of people in the state.
"This means the largest expansion of insurance coverage in the United States since the Affordable Care Act came into force in 2014," said the state-wide consumer health advocacy group. Anthony Wright, Managing Director of HealthAccess California, said. "In California, we all know that if everyone is covered, we all benefit."
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit medical organization, this will be in 2020. People living in the country illegally accounted for about 7% of the country's population, or about 22.1 million. Many have jobs and pay taxes, but they are not eligible for most public interest programs.
Immigrants are slowly gaining access to several healthcare programs. Currently, 18 states provide antenatal care regardless of immigrant status. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia and the five states (California, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Washington) target all children in low-income households, regardless of immigrant status. California and Illinoishave expanded Medicaidto target older adult immigrants.
In California, Republicans and conservative groups are opposed to extending health care to migrants who live illegally in the country. John Coupal, chairman of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, said providing free medical care would make California "attractive to those who are not legally admitted."
"I think many of us are very sympathetic to the immigrant community, but we hope we can better manage who enters this country and this state," Coupal said. I am.
Expanding Medicaid in California is not easy. The confluence of events such as the slow development of state expansion and the end of some federal pandemic policies is that approximately 40,000 low-income migrants are likely to lose health insurance for up to a year in 2023. Means. It shows the difficulty of navigating government-run health insurance schemes to make it easier for people to get insurance.
Beatriz Hernandez came to the United States in 2007 at the age of 11. California taxpayers paid for her medical expenses when she was a child. She lost her coverage at the age of 19 due to her immigrant status, but recovered in 2020 when the state began to cover low-income immigrants under the age of 26.
Hernandez turned 26 in February. Due to the emergency federal regulations during her pandemic, she has not yet lost her coverage. However, according to an analysis by an independent legislative analyst office, these rules could expire later this year, with temporary loss of coverage before the new California program begins on January 1, 2024. It will be one of the estimated 40,000 people.
Hernandez lives in Merced, California's Central Valley, and she works as the organizer of the California Immigration Policy Center. She said her mother would benefit most from this expansion. She has never had health insurance since she moved to the United States. She treats depression. Meanwhile, she has as many appointments as possible this year, including dentists, optometrists, and dermatologists, before losing her coverage.
"It's great that California has taken that step to set an example for other states," she said, unless she has a work permit or other permit to live in the United States. Said Hernandez said. "We believe we can do better by keeping me and hundreds and thousands of other people from leaving medical care just because they are 26 years old."
Previous extensions of California's Medicaid system took six months to a year to implement. But the Newsom administration is much larger than its predecessor, so she says it will take a year and a half to complete this expansion.
Healthcare advocates say the coverage gap is significant for low-income migrants who live illegally in the country because they have no other choice. Citizens who have lost Medicaid coverage can purchase coverage from the state-owned health insurance exchange Covered California and receive significant discounts.
"But that's it for this population. (Medicade) is the only public program available to them," said Salader, Head of Health and Public Interest Policy at the California Immigration Policy Center. rice field.
State Legislature Democrats say they are working with the Newsom administration to speed up the process.
"We are doing everything we can. We talk to the administration and talk to the leaders of the (California) Ministry of Health to do it as soon as possible. In the meantime. No one will lose it. " "It doesn't make sense to lose them and then pull them back."
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