California Gov. Gavin Newsom has reached a deal with state lawmakers that would provide health care insurance benefits for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants living in the state.
According to The Sacramento Bee, Newsom and legislators have recently been locked in discussions over the state’s budget, which faces a June 15 deadline.
Late Sunday evening, Newsom and lawmakers reached an agreement to provide health care for illegal immigrants under the age of 26 by allowing them to enroll in the state’s health insurance program for low-income Californian’s known as Medi-Cal.
However, the agreement will not extend to senior illegal immigrants.
If the proposed budget passes, the agreement will go into effect in January and will cost the state $98 million a year, the Bee reported.
Additionally, California will be the first state to enact such a measure of giving health insurance illegal immigrants.
Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access applauded the budget.
“While it’s not all we sought, it will provide a real tangible difference for people, especially for those around and below poverty and for middle-income families who don’t get any help under the federal law,” he said.
However, there are some that believe that the budget doesn’t do enough for illegal immigrants.
According to The Bee, Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center said the agreement should extend to seniors.
“For California’s immigrant communities, today’s budget deal is bittersweet,” she said in a statement.
“The exclusion of undocumented elders from the same health care their U.S. citizen neighbors are eligible for means beloved community members will suffer and die from treatable conditions. And the exclusion of many immigrants from the Earned Income Tax Credit will perpetuate the crisis of economic inequality in our state.”
Part of the proposed budget includes implementing a widely unpopular “Obamacare” feature of taxing state residents for not having health insurance.
The Bee reported that the revenue generated from the tax will pay for insurance premium subsidies for middle-income people.
The proposed state budget is expected to pass with ease next week as the Democrats maintain both houses in the state legislature.
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