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California's Medi-Cal opens offering of health insurance to illegal migrants

Starting January 1, 2024, Undocumented immigrants between the ages of 26 and 49 are now eligible for full medical treatment under California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. According to a Daily Mail UK investigation, more than 1.5 million migrants relocate to the southern state each year in search of safety in California’s Democratic-run “sanctuary cities.”

California becomes the first state to provide all undocumented immigrants with universal health insurance. Before, illegal immigrants were ineligible for Medi-Cal health insurance, with the exception of emergencies and problems relating to pregnancy providing all Californians access to healthcare. 

Lawmakers and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom reached an agreement in 2022 to extend Medi-Cal health insurance to all low-income individuals, regardless of immigration status. An Associated Press investigation estimates that the expansion would ultimately cost the state around $3.1 billion annually.

According to another Daily Mail UK article, the California Senate Republican Caucus has reportedly opposed the decision, pointing out that the state’s Medicaid program is “already strained by serving 14.6 million Californians – more than a third of the state’s population,”. There is little doubt that adding 764,000 extra users to the system would make the present provider access issues severe.

"In California, we believe everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care coverage - regardless of income or immigration status,"

Newsom administration

the Newsom administration stated in an interview with ABC News.

“We’re ensuring that families and communities throughout California are healthier, stronger, and able to get the care they need when they need it,” Newsom stated in reference to the expansion.

The announcement has been welcomed by state senator Maria Elena Durazo, who stated that immigration and health groups have long aimed to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to illegal migrants in California. She stated, “This historic investment demonstrates California’s commitment to health care as a fundamental human right.”

Only illegal children were permitted to enroll in Medi-Cal in 2015 after former governor Jerry Brown signed a measure granting them eligibility, which included residency in California and a certain income threshold. According to a Daily Mail UK story, Newsom signed a bill in 2019 that made those under the age of 26 eligible, and in May, California began providing coverage for adults 50 years of age and above. Furthermore, Medi-Cal is accessible to those with certain medical problems, as well as those who are blind, crippled, pregnant, under 21, residing in a nursing home, or newly arrived as refugees.

"Budget investment reflects California's values of inclusion and fairness and should be a model for the rest of the nation"


stated Sarah Dar, director of Health and Public Benefits Policy at the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Dar declared, “Basic necessities like food and fair, steady wages should be accessible to all Californians, regardless of their age or place of birth.”

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