Under California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal introduced last Friday, illegal immigrants over 60 would be eligible for the state health care program. But a group of lawmakers is pushing the governor to extend the plan to all illegal residents of California.
Newsom introduced as part of his budget plan an expansion of the state’s health insurance program that would allow illegal aliens over 60 to be eligible for free coverage. Of course, nothing comes for free. Someone has to pay for the services. In this case, again, it is the taxpayers who will bear the cost, estimated at nearly $860 million.
But as if that weren’t enough, a group of Democratic lawmakers said Newsom’s plan doesn’t go far enough. They are pushing to expand the service to all illegal immigrants in the state, implying that at least 3 million illegal residents could become eligible for coverage, as Breitbart reported.
“Our ultimate goal is everyone,” Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) said of pushing for more coverage. “I think we are in the best position than we have ever been to make a more significant process than we ever have. We are going to keep on pushing to include more uninsured.”
Expanding Medi-Cal to all immigrants without legal status, it is estimated, could cost about $2 billion.
The state first offered Medi-Cal coverage to children living in the country illegally up to age 18 in 2016. Last year, young adults up to age 26 also became eligible for coverage after California extended the age limit.
During Newsom’s Jan. 2020 budget presentation, the governor proposed extending coverage to those over 65 without legal status, but the plan was scrapped when the pandemic hit and threatened the state’s finances.
Now, with finances more stable after tax increases, Newsom’s revised budget presented Friday lowered the age to 60. The governor’s proposal will now undergo a month of legislative scrutiny and negotiations before a final spending plan is approved by June 15.
California funds at this time are running a fiscal surplus of more than $75 billion, in part due to tax increases, especially income tax. Evidently, this drives Democrats to be looser on public spending, leading to a waste of taxpayer funds.
At the same time, critics of this measure express some concern because of the waste of money that this free universal health care system could imply for illegal immigrants in California. Still, the policy could also encourage millions of citizens from Mexico and Central America to start medical tourism for treatment in the United States, which could quickly cause the system to collapse.