The Press Democrat (California)
By Martin Espinoza
May 16, 2016
On the day comprehensive Medi-Cal health insurance is be offered to undocumented children, immigration and health care advocates are calling for the benefit to be extended to all immigrants regardless of immigration status.
Hundreds of health care advocates are expected to demonstrate on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento today, calling on legislators to approve two bills aimed at providing coverage for all immigrants illegally in the country.
SB 10 would allow anyone regardless of immigration status to purchase health plans through Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, while SB 1418 would extend Medi-Cal to adult undocumented immigrants.
Those who purchase plans through SB 10 would not receive government subsidies or tax credits, said Bethany Snyder, a spokeswoman for Health Access California. Snyder said the “real benefit” of SB 10 would be that mixed-status families — where some members are legal residents or U.S. citizens while others are undocumented — could be on the same health plan.
“Mixed-status families would easily shop together and could have the same provider,” Snyder said.
Health care officials simultaneously celebrated the implementation today of SB 75, which potentially extends “full-scope” Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, to about 250,000 children across the state. About 121,000 of these kids already receive emergency Medi-Cal coverage and will be switched over to the comprehensive program automatically beginning today.
In Sonoma County, about 1,000 undocumented kids will be transitioned to the comprehensive version of the subsidized program. Local health experts estimate that as many as 3,300 undocumented children in the county not currently enrolled in the restricted Medi-Cal program could ultimately be enrolled in comprehensive coverage under SB 75.
The state Department of Health Care Services estimates that statewide about 129,000 additional children who are not receiving restricted Medi-Cal will become eligible for coverage. About 64,000 are expected to apply for coverage in the next 12 months.
The state’s general fund budget increased by about $45.4 million due to the expected growth in caseload, said DHCS spokesman Anthony Cava. That brings the cost of implementing SB 75 during the 2016-2017 fiscal year to an estimated $188.2 million.
Snyder said no cost estimates have been calculated for SB 1418, which was recently introduced in the state Legislature.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com