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Undocumented Health Care Bill Moves Forward In Legislature

Andrew Nixon
Capital Public Radio

A bill that would make health care available to undocumented immigrants in California advanced in the state legislature today. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been scaled back from previous versions.

The amended bill pares back a proposal that would have extended Medi-Cal to all eligible undocumented immigrants. Now the measure would cap the number of adult enrollees based on the state budget. It does extend Medi-cal to eligible undocumented children. 

The bill would also allow undocumented immigrants to buy insurance through California’s health care exchange if the state is granted a federal waiver. But the amended version eliminates an earlier proposal to create a mirror health exchange if the federal waiver is denied.

Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara authored the bill.

Lara: “The amendments to this bill reflect two things, what we can realistically achieve now and what we hope to achieve in the near future.”

The amendments are intended to lower the cost of the bill, which, in earlier versions, would have been hundreds of millions of dollars.

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