Effort To Extend Covered Calif. to Undocumented Adults Dropped
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has dropped his effort to allow adult undocumented immigrants to buy health coverage through Covered California, the AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.
SB 4 included provisions for the state to:
- Apply for a federal waiver to allow undocumented immigrants to buy unsubsidized health plans through the state exchange; and
- Extend full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to low-income undocumented immigrants under age 19.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (California Healthline, 6/3).
Details of Decision
Lara has removed from SB 4 the language seeking a federal waiver to enable undocumented immigrants to purchase coverage through the exchange.
In his decision to drop the effort, Lara said it would be difficult to garner support for the waiver this late in the legislative session.
SB 4 now would only offer coverage to low-income undocumented immigrant children, similar to a provision in the fiscal year 2015-2016 state budget (Lin, AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram, 9/4).
Under the budget deal, the state in May 2016 will begin extending Medi-Cal coverage to about 170,000 undocumented immigrant children under age 19. The expansion is projected to cost $40 million in the next fiscal year and about $132 million annually following implementation (California Healthline, 7/7).
According the AP/Press-Telegram, Lara said he will pursue separate legislation to extend health coverage to all immigrants, regardless of status.
Specifically, Lara's office said it will amend SB 10 to include the language for the Covered California federal waiver. Lawmakers are set to consider the bill next year (AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram, 9/4).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.