California Officially Becomes First State To Provide Health Benefits to Some Illegal Immigrants

Thousands of illegal immigrants in California will be able to receive state-funded health insurance under a law signed Tuesday by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The law, SB-104, extends health care benefits to everyone 19 to 25 years of age who is income eligible, regardless of their immigration status, CNN reported.

Officials have estimated about 90,000 people will be covered by the law, with a cost of about $98 million per year. Coverage will take effect in 2020. California will be restoring the individual mandate to have health insurance in order to collect revenue that can pay for the new law. The Obamacare mandate was removed nationally by the GOP-controlled Congress in 2017.

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California already covers health care for illegal immigrants under 19.

Although Newsom balked at a $3.4 billion-per-year proposal to expand health care coverage for illegal immigrants regardless of age, he has also said that he will increase coverage.

President Donald Trump has condemned the law.

California doesn’t “treat their people as well as they treat illegal immigrants,” he told reporters on Monday, the Associated Press reported.

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“At what point does it stop? It’s crazy what they are doing. And it’s mean. And it’s very unfair to our citizens, and we’re going to stop it. But we may need an election to stop it, and we may need to get back the House,” Trump said.

But Newsom said California is right where he wants it to be.

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“If you believe in universal health care, you believe in universal health care. We are the most un-Trump state in America when it comes to health policy,” Newsom said, according to NPR.

At least one Republican state legislator foretold troubles from the law.

“We are going to be a magnet that is going to further attract people to a state of California that’s willing to write a blank check to anyone that wants to come here,” state Sen. Jeff Stone said.

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“We are doing a disservice to citizens who legally call California their home.”

CNN earlier this month released the results of a national poll on giving illegal immigrants government-funded health care. The poll found that 59 percent of those surveyed were opposed to giving health care to illegal immigrants while 38 percent supported the concept.

Government-funded health care for illegal immigrants has become a central issue as Democrats seek to select their 2020 presidential nominees.

Linda J. Blumberg of the Urban Institute is one of the many critics of insurance for all and said it might create “strong incentives for people with serious health problems to enter the country or remain longer than their visas allow in order to get government-funded care,” The New York Times reported.

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