Undocumented kids can get health care in California. Gavin Newsom wants it for young adults, too
By Sophia Bollag
. . . Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed expanding Medi-Cal to undocumented adults younger than 26. That would help young people like Lopez, who lost her eligibility this year when she turned 19 and aged out of the children’s program.
Covering children and teens who are undocumented costs the state more than $360 million a year. Newsom’s proposal would add $260 million to the bill. But advocates argue it would be a cost-effective investment in preventive and primary care services that can identify problems such as diabetes early and reduce costly services as people get older.
Some state lawmakers want to go further and spend an estimated $2.3 billion a year to extend Medi-Cal eligibility to Californians of all ages regardless of their immigration status, provided they meet the income requirements . . .
In Democrat-controlled California, the primary barrier to expanding the Medi-Cal program is cost. Because the state generally can’t use federal funds to provide health care to immigrants living in the country illegally, all the funding must come from state coffers.
Sally Pipes, president of the conservative San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute, opposes plans to expand state-funded coverage to more undocumented immigrants, both because of the cost and because she worries it will incentivize illegal immigration.
“Why should we be providing medical coverage to people who are here illegally?” she said. “Supporting the whole idea of people who are here illegally and paying for their health care is a tax on people who are here legally.”