Governor’s Budget Seeks To Cut Services for Recent Immigrants
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) proposal to address the state's $20 billion budget gap would eliminate a number of state services for recent immigrants, including Medi-Cal benefits in many cases, the Los Angeles Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Under federal law, most documented immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid and other public assistance programs until they have been in the U.S. for at least five years.Â
California and a number of other states established programs to provide those services to recent immigrants, but the federal government does not help fund the programs.
The governor's proposal would eliminate Medi-Cal services for 48,570 documented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than five years and about 65,000 undocumented people who claim their deportation is not being pursued. Eligibility for services for pregnant women and children would not be affected by the proposed cuts.
The proposal is expected to reduce state spending by $118 million annually.
However, a recent report by the California Immigrant Policy Center concluded that the projected savings could be offset by increased rates of homelessness and emergency department use.
Last year, the state legislature rejected similar proposals, but benefits have been reduced (Zavis/Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 2/16).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.