California to be first state to offer health coverage to all immigrants under governor’s proposal

All low-income California residents, regardless of their immigration status, would be eligible for state Medicaid coverage under Governor Gavin Newsom’s state budget proposal.

The governor’s proposed $ 286 billion state budget includes $ 614 million to expand Medi-Cal eligibility for all residents, which could make the state the first to expand healthcare coverage health coverage for all residents, and the first in the country to attempt universal health coverage for all its residents. .

“California is on the verge of being (…) the first state in the country to achieve universal access to health coverage,” the governor announced at a press conference on January 10.

Immigrants aged 26 and under became eligible for the program in 2019, and those aged 55 and over became eligible last year. The governor aims to close this gap and asks state lawmakers to cover the remaining immigrant populations.

More than 3 million California residents will be uninsured in 2022. Those currently eligible for insurance through the California Covered Market represent 28% of the state’s uninsured population, while undocumented immigrants represent 65%.

About 12 million people are registered with Medi-Cal.

Expanding access to all eligible people – the result of a multi-year “Health4All” campaign among state lawmakers and immigrant advocacy groups – is expected to cost the state $ 2.7 billion every year.

The proposal could mean that “hundreds of thousands of currently uninsured Californians could access essential and life-saving health care,” according to a statement from the California Immigration Policy Center.

The budget proposed by the governor, covering the most populous state in the country, and supported by a surplus of more than 45 billion dollars, aims to fight against “existential threats” to the state, including the Covid-pandemic. 19, forest fires, drought, homelessness and public safety.

According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, undocumented residents are excluded from Affordable Care Act grants and Medicaid eligibility, while non-citizens without a green card are more likely not to benefit of employment-based health coverage – on which about half the country depends – than US citizens because of the greater likelihood of their employment in jobs that do not include health plans.

Governor Newsom also proposed to bolster the state’s initiatives for the homeless with an additional $ 2 billion to expand mental health services, housing and clean-up camps.

The governor’s proposal follows an increase in state revenues after fears that a deficit approaching the economic fallout of the pandemic could weigh on the state in the years that followed. Instead, revenues have exploded and income, sales and corporate tax collection are up 40% from 2020 and 60% from 201, according to the analyst’s office. legislative.

A group of Democratic lawmakers have proposed a plan for the state to adopt a single-payer health plan, in which the medical expenses of all residents are covered by a government-run fund, rather than a motley system of providers private with Byzantine and Federal plans. – and programs subsidized by the State.

The governor told reporters on Monday that he had not read the plan, although he reaffirmed his support for the single-payer system as the “ideal” system, but added that “there are many avenues different to achieve the goal “.

“I believed for a long time that it was inevitable [in the US], “he said.” The question is, what does that look like? “

A commission that studies health care financing is expected to produce a report later this year, he said.

California Assembly Member Ash Kalra, who drafted the proposal for a single-payer financing plan, said in a statement that the legislation allows Californians to “decide for themselves whether they better pay for the world’s most expensive healthcare with the worst outcomes of any wealthy country, or guaranteed healthcare for all with CalCare while lowering overall healthcare costs.

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