Newsom wants $260 million to extend Medicaid to more illegal immigrants in California

By | January 11, 2019

A Democratic proposal to extend government-funded medical coverage to low-income people who reside in California illegally would cost the state $ 260 million, according to the governor’s budget released Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was sworn into office Monday, has vowed that California will provide “sanctuary to all who seek it.” He has proposed raising the age threshold to receive government-funded coverage, known as Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status, from 19 to 26 for low-income people.

The plan would go into effect beginning July 19, 2019, and is expected to cover 138,000 people, according to the budget. If the proposal is enacted, California would be the first state to make such coverage available to young adults.

Newsom has argued that his plan should be enacted because California residents are already paying for healthcare at the back end through fees to emergency departments. An analysis from the Legislative Analyst’s Office last year projected the plan would cost $ 330 million, which is more than what Newsom has requested.

The plan has drawn the attention of federal lawmakers, include Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who said he would introduce legislation blocking the idea.

“Federal tax dollars should benefit Americans, not reward people from other countries who break the law,” he said on Twitter Tuesday. “That only encourages more illegal immigration.”

Newsom fired back on Twitter: “Healthcare should be a basic human right. Republicans in DC are already attacking our efforts to provide quality, affordable healthcare to everyone who calls CA home. We cannot accept the status quo. We must keep demanding better care for ALL Californians.”

Newsom also has proposed reinstituting a fine on the uninsured that was zeroed out through the tax law that Republicans and President Trump enacted in 2017, and letting more people get subsidies under Obamacare. The current cutoff is 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and California is considering raising it to 600 percent, which is $ 72,840 a year for an individual and $ 150,600 for a family of four.

The full budget proposal is $ 13.6 billion, or 4 percent over what his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, had proposed. Lawmakers have until June 15 to approve a balanced spending plan or lose pay.