Gregory Whitney | Health Care for Illegal Immigrants

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Several years ago the news media published accounts of pregnant women entering the United States illegally or on tourist visas, remaining for the birth of their babies, guaranteeing the offspring U.S. citizenship. Recently enacted California laws allow any such woman younger than 26 years old to apply for Medi-Cal (Covered California), California taxpayer-subsidized medical coverage, “regardless of immigration status,” provided they meet remaining criteria for Medi-Cal eligibility (mainly California residency and reported income below maximum value for their status).

The same laws similarly allow Medi-Cal medical coverage for pregnant women here in California on student visas (valid or lapsed). Additionally, postpartum Medi-Cal coverage is extended from 60 days to 12 months.

In general, California law now allows anyone younger than 26 years old to apply for Medi-Cal coverage “regardless of immigration status.” As of May 2022, the privilege will be extended to anyone 50 years and older “regardless of immigration status” as a result of 2021’s Assembly Bill 133 becoming law.

Although the California Legislature’s Democrat supermajority voted “Yes” on AB133, our local members, Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares and Sen. Scott Wilk, voted “No.” AB133 created a dizzying number of changes to the California state health system, intending to move California closer to universal health care and more “equity” in medical coverage while imposing unfunded mandates on county governments and medical insurance plans. I am not qualified to understand all the changes driven by AB133 and would appreciate an analysis by our local assemblywoman and senator, particularly the points they found unacceptable.

As a taxpayer and father of several taxpayers who contribute significantly to the California budget, the cost of expanding Medi-Cal coverage to previously unqualified populations concerns me. Perhaps Signal columnist and CPA Jim de Bree could evaluate cost impacts on present and future California budgets. Mr. de Bree has opined about medical coverage approaches in prior columns.

I would also note the California Legislature has passed bills to make these changes over a period of years, slipping them under the radar: Senate Bill 75 (2016), SB104 (2019) and AB133 (2021). I wonder how many California taxpayers realize how charitable their Legislature and governor have become? 

Gregory Whitney


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