California To Offer Healthcare Benefits to Young, Undocumented Migrants -- Would Others Follow?

California To Offer Healthcare Benefits to Young, Undocumented Migrants -- Would Others Follow?841
source: Pixabay

A landmark decision by the California lawmakers Sunday made the Golden State the first state nationwide to pay for the health benefits of some low-income adults living here illegally.

The local Democrats reached the agreement as a part of a broader plan to spend $213 billion of state and federal taxpayers money over the next year.

As per the new deal, some low-income undocumented adults aged 19-25 living in California would qualify for the state's Medicaid program for the poor and disabled. The strategic move distances California even more from President Trump's migrants' policy. 

It is worth mentioning that not everyone in that age group would receive health benefits. The focus would be on the people whose income is low enough to take advantage of the program, officials said.

The Democrats estimated it would cost the taxpayers $98 million per year and it would cover the health benefits of nearly 90,000 residents, the Associated Press reported.

Furthermore, the newly-reached agreement aims to make California the first state to offer additional financial aid to middle-class families to cover their monthly health insurance premiums. 

As per the deal, a family of four making as much as six times the federal poverty level - or more than $150,000 a year - could receive nearly $100 a month from the state to pay their monthly health insurance premium expenses.

In addition to that, the state would also tax individuals who do not pay for health insurance to pay for part of it. It revives the individual mandate penalty that was introduced with the federal health care bill former President Barack Obama signed into law.

In 2017, GOP lawmakers eliminated the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans on the legislative committee voted against the proposal saying that it was not fair to provide health benefits to undocumented people while taxing legally residing people for not purchasing health insurance.

The agreement does not enter into force immediately. It needs the approval by the full state legislature. As per the state law, lawmakers need to enact a budget by midnight on June 15. If they fail to do so, lawmakers will lose their pay.

These health care proposals marked one of the big wins for the California Gov. Gavin Newsom who initiated both of them. Numerous Democratic lawmakers insisted that California should cover the health insurances for all adults living in the state illegally. Newsom was the first to oppose highlighting it would cost taxpayers more than $3 billion.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that California ( or any other state) should cover the health benefits for undocumented migrants?