California Democrats Push for Noncitizens To Receive Medicaid


There has been a concerted and growing push among those on the far left to extend taxpayer-funded and government-controlled Medicaid and Medicare, or some new version combining the two programs, to everybody in the United States.

As it turns out, that “everybody” who leftists think should be enrolled in government health care would include illegal immigrants, as was recently made evident by a law proposed in the California legislature.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Democratic state Assembly member Joaquin Arambula has reintroduced a bill that would grant health care coverage to low-income illegal immigrants over the age of 19 as part of that state’s version of Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal.

Illegal immigrant children are already covered by the Medi-Cal program and receive the full scope of benefits that are provided to U.S. citizens, such as coverage for hospitalization, oral and vision care and prescription drugs, among other things.

Arambula’s bill is known as Assembly Bill 4, and it is remarkably similar, if somewhat expanded, to a failed bill that he had pushed in 2017. Assembly Bill 2965 would have extended eligibility for the full range of benefits under Medi-Cal to illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 26, as well as those older than age 65, provided they were otherwise considered eligible for the program in spite of their immigration status.

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Though the bill had passed the Assembly, it was surprisingly rejected by Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown due to funding issues. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the new bill to extend Medi-Cal to all low-income illegal immigrants, regardless of age, would cost state taxpayers an estimated $3 billion per year — a rather hefty sum.

It seems unlikely that the new bill would be similarly rejected by the incoming governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, as he is on record as being in full support of the effort to extend Medi-Cal benefits and coverage to illegal immigrants.

The Hill reported in August that then-candidate and former San Francisco Mayor Newsom had said in an interview on the left-leaning podcast Pod Save America, “I did universal health care when I was mayor — fully implemented, regardless of pre-existing condition, ability to pay, and regardless of your immigration status. I’d like to see that extended to the rest of the state.”

“San Francisco is the only universal health care plan for all undocumented residents in America. Very proud of that. And we proved it can be done without bankrupting the city,” he continued.

Would you oppose a law extending taxpayer-funded Medicaid coverage to illegal immigrants?

Furthermore, Newsom indicated that he would not only be supportive of such a statewide effort but would likely take a prominent role in making it happen as well.

“The executive needs to lead it,” he said. “Obamacare would not have happened if it was just exclusively a legislative fiat. That said, Nancy Pelosi did a magical job of organizing it, but it required the concerted efforts of the president of the United States.”

Other prominent figures and organizations in the state have expressed their support for the idea of extending Medi-Cal coverage to all illegal immigrants as well.

“It’s something that is urgently needed across immigrant communities in California. The longer that we wait and the longer we keep up this unjust exclusion, it’s really setting back California,” said Carolina Gamero, spokeswoman for the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Her plea was echoed by Rachel Linn Gish, spokeswoman for the Health Access California consumer group, who said, “You cannot talk about universal health care in California unless you talk about health care for the undocumented.”

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The Washington Examiner noted that, should this new proposed bill be passed and signed into law, it would make California the first state to extend Medicaid coverage to all residents regardless of immigration status.

The state has projected that an estimated 1.8 million illegal immigrants reside within the state without documentation or health care coverage. It further estimated that some 1.2 million of those individuals would be qualified to enroll in Medi-Cal, if it were extended.

Both of those estimates are probably on the low side, though, as was the estimated cost of $3 billion per year — to be paid out of the state’s general fund — which would be on top of the high costs for covered U.S. citizens.

California has already all but thrown open its doors and rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants, and this proposed law would simply add a giant, flashing neon sign to further beckon more illegal immigrants to illicitly enter and reside in the state, while simultaneously furthering the state’s decline toward bankruptcy and disrespecting the state’s overburdened taxpayers.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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