PRENATAL CARE: Ban On Care For Immigrants Delayed
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge yesterday blocked Gov. Pete Wilson's plan to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving prenatal care under the Medi-Cal program, the Los Angeles Times reports. Judge Robert O'Brien ruled that the Wilson administration "failed to ensure that women would still have access to screening and treatment for infectious ailments regardless of immigrant status." The Times notes that "[p]renatal care is an important diagnostic tool for discovering AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases." O'Brien wrote, "The specter of communicable diseases going unattended within society presents a threat to the society generally and not just to the individuals affected." A measure in the 1996 federal welfare reform law mandating that states eliminate most non-emergency aid to illegal aliens allows immigrants "access to subsidized care for screening and treatment of communicable diseases." The judge's decision marks the third time the courts have blocked implementation of the ban; it was scheduled to go into effect April 1. A spokesperson for Wilson said an appeal of the decision was being "considered" (McDonnell, 3/6).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.