Calif. Senate Committee OKs Bill for Undocumented Health Coverage
The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee (Kopetman, Orange County Register, 4/15).
Details of Bill
The measure is part of a 10-bill legislative package that aims to expand health coverage, among other protections, to undocumented immigrants.
Specifically, SB 4, by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would give undocumented immigrants access to:
- Medi-Cal coverage; and
- Health coverage through a newly created insurance exchange.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
SB 4 stalled in a legislative committee last session after lawmakers failed to find funding to cover its estimated $1.3 billion annual cost. The legislative package also does not include funding plans for the coverage expansion (California Healthline, 4/7).
Details of Hearing
According to Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News," the bill was supported unanimously by the committee's Democratic members. Republican members of the committee abstained from the vote (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/15).
During the hearing, Lara said, "We have to embrace this opportunity to be decisive and make a historic, sensible and humane change in health care and immigration policy in California" (Orange County Register, 4/15).
In addition, state Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside), said, "I'm not unmindful of the cost issue here but I think it's an important issue that we need to solve, and I think in our efforts to drive down the cost of health care, we need to find this money. And we need to do it now."
State Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) said, "I'm open to the discussion of access to health care for all, because I'm a firm believer in preventive health care. However, I think the state needs to be able to pay for it and take care of the current enrollees while we look at ways to bring in more enrollees" ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.