(Bloomberg Politics) — The California Senate voted Tuesday to allow undocumented workers living in the state to obtain medical insurance through its Obamacare health exchange.
Senate Bill 4 also would allow those in the country illegally who are 18 years of age or younger and reside in California to enroll in Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for the poor, the Sacramento Bee reported. In order to obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the state would need to file a federal waver, and those immigrants who applied would not be eligible for federal subsidies.
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“Ensuring that every child in California grows up healthy and with an opportunity to thrive and succeed is simply the right thing to do.” Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara, who authored the bill, told the Bee.
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The measure, which passed by a 28-11 margin in the Senate, now heads to the state assembly. Citing concern over the cost of expanding coverage for undocumented immigrants, Gov. Jerry Brown has not said whether he will sign the bill.
The fate of the measure is dependent on available funding, and will require that legislators vote to add money to the budget to pay for it. The senate’s own analysis found that extending Medi-Cal benefits to 786,600 immigrants would cost the state $690 million annually, and while those who obtained health insurance through the Covered California exchange would pay for their own insurance coverage, there would be further costs involved.