California will soon make history as the state is set to become the first in the nation to give free healthcare to some illegal immigrants.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrats in the state legislature reached an agreement to allow low-income individuals between the ages of 19 and 25 who are in the country illegally to be eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program.
“While it’s not all we sought, it will provide a real tangible difference for people, especially for those around and below poverty and for middle income families who don’t get any help under the federal law,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of advocacy group Health Access, Fox News reports.
About 90,000 people will qualify for the measure, which is part of a $213 billion budget deal. It is expected to cost roughly $98 million per year.
Under the agreement, a family of four earning more than $150,000 would be eligible to receive about $100 a month from the government for their monthly health insurance premium bills, AP reported.
The state will reportedly tax individuals who do not pay for health insurance in order to pay for part of it. The policy would revive an individual mandate penalty that initially came with the federal health care bill former President Obama signed into law. (The Hill)
Democrats in the state had pushed for a plan that would include free healthcare for all adult illegal immigrants, but even that was a stretch for Newsom, who pointed out the measure would be cost prohibitive.
The full state Legislature must now approve the budget agreement before it can be enacted.