CALIFORNIA: WILSON CUTS BENEFITS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
"Renewing his campaign effort to implement Proposition 187,"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.
Gov. Pete Wilson (R) ordered state agencies to stop providing
most state benefits to illegal immigrants yesterday, SAN
FRANCISCO CHRONICLE reports. Voters approved Proposition 187, an
"anti-illegal immigrant measure" in 1994, but judicial order
blocked implementation of some of its provisions. Wilson's move
will eliminate prenatal care to illegal immigrant women, saving
the state close to $70 million (Gunnison, 8/28). Wilson also
asked state agencies to identify other programs in which illegal
immigrants are now participating. LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that
emergency health care is exempted from the cessation of aid
WILSON'S WILL: "This morning, California takes a step
forward in reforming ... a system we have called welfare so that
it will become instead something that encourages personal
responsibility. It will also make a change in that it no longer
rewards those who break the law by entering the country
illegally," Wilson said upon signing his executive order.
CHRONICLE reports that Wilson "decided not to wait for federal
guidelines on how the new welfare law" should be implemented.
Wilson said the federal Welfare law, signed last week by
President Clinton, "ends the injustice of forcing California
taxpayers to pay for the federal government's failure to control
our borders" (Gunnison, 8/28). Wilson called his move "the first
step in implementing federal welfare reform" (Harris,
AP/SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/28).
CHARADES?: CHRONICLE reports that Wilson's order was
"perceived as an attack on illegal immigrant mothers." Dr.
Thomas Peters, director of health and human services for Marin
County, said Wilson's move was "clinically wrongheaded, ethically
bereft and financially a charade," adding that the increase in
care for premature babies and babies with birth defects will
outweigh the cost of providing prenatal care to illegal immigrant
mothers (8/28). Dr. Sandra Hernandez, director of the San
Francisco Department of Public Health, estimates that the city
will finance the $400,000 in annual prenatal costs even if the
state does not (Raine, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 8/28).
HOLD YOUR HORSES: AP/USA TODAY reports that "it will likely
be days or weeks, perhaps even months, before benefits are
actually withdrawn." Lucy Quacinella, a California attorney,
said the state should organize cuts under the federal guidelines.
"Take the time to look at the implications of the bill
comprehensively, then put together a package -- with public input
-- that makes sense." She added, "The public should not panic
about this. Changes are clearly planned, but these changes
cannot happen overnight" (Harris, 8/28).