Wednesday, May 31, 2017

California Seeks to Expand Government Healthcare for Undocumented Persons

From California Healthline:
California could become the first state to extend full Medicaid benefits to undocumented immigrants up to age 26 after two key legislative committees last week approved money for such an expansion. 
The Assembly and Senate budget committees both approved using some of the money from California’s recently passed tobacco tax to cover up to 80,000 unlawfully present young adults under the state’s version of Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal. 
The committees approved different amounts of money for the next budget year — about $54 million in the Assembly and about $86 million in the Senate — and they must agree on a single amount before starting state budget negotiations with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who would have the final say. ... 
Beginning last May, California allowed eligible children who were in the U.S. without permission and under 19 to receive full Medi-Cal benefits. An estimated 190,000 such children have signed up for it since then. Previously, they were eligible for emergency services only under Medi-Cal. 
The federal government generally pays at least half of Medicaid costs, but California uses its own money to pay for these expanded Medi-Cal benefits. U.S. law largely bars the use of federal money for providing non-emergency Medicaid coverage to immigrants here without permission. 
Health Access, a Sacramento-based advocacy group, estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 young adults without papers might enroll in Medi-Cal were the expansion to be approved. ...