Advocates Roll Out Plan for Uninsured

An Assembly budget subcommittee yesterday considered a new plan from health advocates to provide health insurance coverage for roughly one million undocumented Californians.

The proposal itself is incomplete, in that it does not contain a cost estimate. That number still is being determined and will be worked out during budget talks for the May budget revision, sources said.

The new plan was introduced by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which did not offer an opinion on the proposal. Federal rules bar the undocumented from participating in the health benefit exchange.

Under the new proposal, the state would form an exchange for the undocumented, similar to Covered California and governed by the Covered California board, but without using any federal money.

The realignment agreement between the state and counties would need to be amended, allowing counties that want to fund preventive care for the undocumented to do so.

Californians ineligible for Medi-Cal only because of immigration status would receive full-scope coverage similar to Medi-Cal under the new plan.

“The failure of the Affordable Care Act is the remaining uninsured,” said Elizabeth Landsberg, director of legislative advocacy for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“This proposal fulfills the dream of the ACA,” said Sean South, legislative advocate for the California Primary Care Association.

State officials did not have an opinion on the proposal because there was no price tag on the plan, but they did worry that it could have a significant impact on the general fund.

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