JOEL B. POLLAK
The California state legislature is considering a bill that would expand Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicare program, to illegal aliens over the age of 65 with low incomes.
Earlier this year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill expanding Medi-Cal to illegal aliens 25 years old and younger with low enough incomes to qualify for the program. That fulfilled a pledge he made in his first act as governor to offer coverage to illegal aliens over 18 years old.
As Calmatters notes, Newsom balked at proposals earlier this year to expand Medi-Cal to elderly illegal aliens because of concerns about the cost, and because the proposal would pre-empt the governor’s budget proposals.
Calmat’s explains (original links):
The bill, authored by Los Angeles Democrat Maria Elena Durazo, would expand Medi-Cal—the state’s version of federal Medicaid for low-income residents — to undocumented immigrants age 65 and older starting next July. That would inch the state closer to providing health care to all immigrants in the state illegally.
The governor hasn’t indicated whether he would sign this bill, despite his previous support for universal health care. Experts note that he might object to its attempt to lock him into new spending for next year’s budget.
The Newsom administration’s Finance Department opposes the bill, estimating it would cost an additional $163 million in next year’s budget and $255 million the following year, with costs projected to rise further as the senior population of undocumented immigrants grows. Nearly all of those costs would be born by state taxpayers because the federal government, which funds most of Medicaid, refuses to pay for services for people in the country illegally.
All of the Democratic Party frontrunners for president support providing free health care to illegal aliens; all ten presidential candidates on the stage at the second night of the first presidential debate in Miami, Florida, famously raised their hands to agree.