California is now the first state to offer free healthcare for all undocumented low-income immigrants!
On Thursday, Gov. Gaven Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget to make all illegal low-income adult immigrants eligible for California’s Medicaid program by 2024, reports The Associated Press.
The program will provide state-funded health insurance to eligible residents. It will cover over 764,000 people at an ultimate cost of about $2.7 billion a year. A long-sought victory for health care and immigration activists.
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, told the AP. “In California, we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
State Sen. María Elena Durazo (D) commended the expansion of Medi-Cal as a budget victory and said in a statement on Twitter confirming the state is now “one step closer to ending the outdated and discriminatory policy that prevents undocumented Californians from accessing affordable health care.”
“This is a victory for the millions of undocumented Californians who contribute $3.7 billion in state and local taxes and over $40 billion in spending power to our economy every year,” Durazo wrote.
Expanding California’s Medicaid will have some downsides. Events such as the state’s lengthy expansion rollout and the termination of some federal pandemic policies will result in about 40,000 low-income immigrants losing their health coverage for at least a year before being considered eligible again in 2023.