Democrat state lawmakers in progressive California have agreed to a plan that would extend health benefits to qualifying illegal immigrants residing in the state.
The legislature has a June 15 deadline and is expected to approve the deal in the coming days. It essentially extends eligibility to California’s Medicaid program to young low-income illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25. The move is part of a broader budget plan, which clocks in around $213 billion.
Expanding California’s Medicaid program to low-income illegals would cost the state about $98 million per year. According to the Associated Press, roughly 90,000 will qualify.
“California believes that health is a fundamental right,” State Sen. Holly Mitchell (D) said, according to the news outlet.
A number of Democrat state lawmakers wanted to take it a step further, offering coverage for all illegals in the state, but Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected the proposal, citing rising costs.
The agreement also includes assistance for middle-income families. A family of four making $150,000 could qualify for a $100 a month subsidy from the government to help cover the cost of their insurance premium.
Democrats in the state plan to pay for the handouts, in part, by taxing those who do not have health insurance. This is, in essence, another version of Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty, which the Supreme Court upheld as a tax in a critical ruling in 2012. However, it has remained a point of contention in lower courts. Republicans in Congress worked with President Trump to scrap what they deemed to be the unconstitutional penalty in 2017.
California lawmakers say these moves are all part of the state’s wide-ranging effort to get everyone in the state – including those residing there unlawfully – covered. This comes at the time of a severe homelessness crisis in the state, particularly in Los Angeles County.
The number of homeless individuals on the streets of Los Angeles has skyrocketed during the last year.