California bill seeks to extend subsidized health care to illegal immigrants

Font Size:

A California Democrat is looking to extend taxpayer-funded health-care benefits to illegal immigrants.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara of Long Beach introduced legislation late last week that would extend health-care coverage to all Californians “irrespective of immigration status.”

“The purpose of the Health For All Act is simple — provide health care coverage to California’s remaining uninsured by expanding Medi-Cal and creating a new health exchange where the undocumented can purchase coverage,” Lara said in a statement.

Lara added that the fact that Obamacare expressly denies illegal immigrants coverage “hurts the overall health of our communities, and does not reflect California values.”

The legislation, if passed would create the “California Health Benefit Exchange Program for All Californians” which would be run by officials at California’s Obamacare exchange and would extend eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits to illegal immigrants who would qualify if they were legal.

According to Lara’s office, of the 2.3 million illegal immigrants in California, about a million are estimated to be without health-care coverage.

The Democratic state senator is joined in his effort by a coalition of immigration, health care and union advocates including Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Immigrant Policy Center, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Health Access California, California Pan-Ethnic health Network (CPEHN), Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, SEIU California, California Primary Care Association and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.

Follow Caroline on Twitter