California is set to become the first U.S. state to guarantee that illegal immigrants and non-citizens can receive ‘free’ healthcare insurance provided by the state at taxpayer expense.
The move will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at a projected cost of around $2.7 billion a year. The health insurance provision was included in the $307.9 billion operating budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law. The measure to ‘cover’ low-income illegal immigrants is part of the 2022-23 state budget allocation, which includes expanding the state’s Medi-Cal program.
“Medi-Cal already offers coverage to undocumented immigrants if they are younger than 26, over the age of 50 or a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” the Hill’s activist publication Changing America reported.
“The expansion of Medi-Cal is expected to lead to the largest drop in the rate of uninsured Californians in a decade,” the report added. “Undocumented Californians make up the largest group of the state’s uninsured, with the University of California Berkley’s Labor Center projecting nearly 1.3 million individuals under the age of 65 are uninsured in 2022 alone.”
An estimated 92% of of Californians have some form of health insurance. The percentage of those covered is sure to increase under the newly signed Medi-Cal expansion.
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
Democratic State Sen. María Elena Durazo praised the Medi-Cal expansion as a budget victory and said in a statement the state is “one step closer to ending the outdated and discriminatory policy that prevents undocumented Californians from accessing affordable health care.”
“This is a victory for the millions of undocumented Californians who contribute $3.7 billion in state and local taxes and over $40 billion in spending power to our economy ever year.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that 22.1 million people was in the nation illegally as of 2020. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for many public benefits and are not eligible to vote, but many work and some pay certain taxes.
California’s budget has ballooned a ‘hundred-fold’ and is entirely unsustainable, as a recent editorial in the Daily Breeze illuminates.
“While the ‘budget bill’ is constitutionally mandated to be enacted by June 15, it only passed by that date for one reason — so the legislators could continue to receive their paychecks,” Jon Coupal writes.
“Moreover, since the enactment of the budget, there have been two so-called ‘junior budget bills’ amending the fake June 15th budget and around 30 so-called ‘budget trailer bills’ directing the spending of billions in ways that the budget bill itself did not direct,” he continues.
“But it isn’t just the budget process that is wholly broken, the actual substance of the bill reveals perverse spending priorities,” he adds. “Let’s start with the size of this gargantuan budget. One veteran political reporter, who has followed state budgets since the 1960s, remembers when the budget was $3 billion. It has grown since then by 100-fold to a staggering $300 billion.”
Instead of enacting sensible measures like suspending the exorbitant ‘gas tax’ to give taxpayers relief, California politicians are heaping more burdens on their plate. No wonder American citizens are fleeing the state. And instead of making the state friendlier for businesses, California is trying to lure businesses to the state with ‘silly’ virtue-signaling.
“Space limitations prevent a full airing of all the silliness to be found in the state budget, but this one caught our eye,” Coupal notes. “One of the post-budget ‘trailer’ bills revealed Gov. Newsom’s obsession with poking at pro-business states like Texas and Florida. The bill would give special consideration to businesses seeking state ‘Go-Biz’ grants if they’re relocating jobs away from a state that limits access to abortion or ‘permits discrimination’ on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
“Apparently, Newsom believes businesses will be more attracted to California for its woke purity than they are repelled by its high taxes and burdensome regulations,” he adds.
California’s attempt to shame Republican-led state governments is ironically helpful: It expedites the departure of Woke citizens from red states to blue states more aligned with their values. Maybe everyone will be happier in the end run: Red states can have more babies and more money, and blue states can subsidize abortions and healthcare for illegal immigrants to their hearts’ content.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.