CALIFORNIA: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FACE PRENATAL CUTS
Gov. Pete Wilson (R) yesterday announced that the state willThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
end subsidized prenatal care for illegal immigrants beginning
March 1. The announcement comes one week after the state
appellate court "allowed him to implement the ban while its
legality is challenged," the San Francisco Chronicle reports
(Rojas, 1/30). Under the plan, any new illegal immigrant
applications to Medi-Cal for prenatal assistance will be refused
as of March 1. The approximately 70,000 current recipients who
lack legal status will be denied their subsidies beginning April
1, (Los Angeles Times, 1/30).
MOTHERS IN ARMS
Wilson has been "trying to end prenatal care for more than a
year, arguing that he is bound by the 1996 federal welfare reform
law that requires states to end benefits to illegal immigrants"
(Chronicle, 1/30). In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times says
that "Wilson has gained a pyrrhic victory in his ongoing, cold
and shortsighted effort to deny state-funded pregnancy care to
illegal immigrants." It says that "Californians will be paying
for a pound of cure rather than an ounce of prevention. What,
for example, is the practical effect of this action, beyond
making the governor appear tough on illegal immigration? Study
after study has shown that mothers who do not receive prenatal
care are more likely to give birth to sickly, low-weight infants.
These children -- American citizens by birth -- will be delivered
at California hospitals and clinics, at sometimes staggering
intensive-care costs that are eventually passed on to all state
WAITING FOR RENO
The state faces "two separate court challenges that could
result in the implementation date being pushed back once again,"
the Times reports (1/30). Attorneys representing California
women and health organizations have "filed a separate challenge
in Los Angeles Superior Court" and say "they will seek a
temporary restraining order" on the ban (Chronicle, 1/30).
The California Primary Care Association said yesterday that
"in defiance" of Wilson's ban, it is directing its 250 member
clinics to continue providing prenatal care to all patients.
Carmela Castellano CEO of the CPCA, said, "Our message to our
member clinics is clear and simple: Women should continue to
seek prenatal care and CPCA clinics should continue to provide
that care" (CPCA release, 1/29).