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How To Pay for Health for All?

A bill introduced in the California Legislature this year offered a plan that would give undocumented California residents access to expanded Medi-Cal and create a dedicated insurance exchange for all who do not qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program.

Known as the Health for All Act (SB 1005) was put on hold by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The proposal, which included state-funded subsidies, did not have a price tag.

The author of the bill, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), plans to try again next year.

Although the bill generated no formal opposition, without some kind of funding mechanism the idea is likely to stall again, most observers believe.

Some creative suggestions have emerged including establishing new fees on remittances sent out of California to foreign countries and raising the fee for driver’s license applications.

We asked legislators, stakeholders and consumer advocates if California should expand coverage to include undocumented immigrants and others who fall through the ACA cracks. If the answer is yes, we asked how the state should pay for it.

We got responses from:

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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