State Watch

California set to become first state to offer health insurance to some illegal immigrants

Stefani Reynolds

California lawmakers have agreed to a budget deal that would make it the first state to offer health insurance benefits to some adults living in the U.S. illegally.

The benefits were included in an expansive plan for how California will spend $213 billion of state and federal tax money over the next year, The Associated Press reported.

Democrats in the state legislature reportedly agreed to the broad plan on Sunday afternoon. The budget agreement must be approved by the full state legislature before it can be officially enacted. Lawmakers, under California law, must enact a budget by midnight on June 15.

The agreement allows low-income immigrants without legal status who are between the ages of 19 and 25 to be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, according to AP. The news service, citing state estimates, noted that about 90,000 people will qualify for the program and that it will cost approximately $98 million per year.

In addition, the agreement is set to make California the first state to offer aid to middle-class families with their monthly health insurance premiums. Under the agreement, a family of four earning more than $150,000 would be eligible to receive about $100 a month from the government for their monthly health insurance premium bills, AP reported. 

The state will reportedly tax individuals who do not pay for health insurance in order to pay for part of the proposal. The policy would revive an individual mandate penalty that initially came with the federal health care bill former President Obama signed into law. 

GOP lawmakers eliminated the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act when it overhauled the tax code in 2017. 

First-year Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) proposed both of the health care policies that are set to be a part of the budget. Some lawmakers said the bill regarding immigrants should have covered all adults. However, Newsom has voiced opposition to those calls, noting the high $3.4 billion cost.

Tags California Gavin Newsom Health insurance Illegal immigration Medicaid
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