California will become the first state in the U.S. to pay for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to have full health benefits, Fox News informed.
This is seen as an attempt to distance itself from President Trump’s administration policy on illegal immigrants.
According to the deal between Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrats in the state legislature, low-income adults between the ages of 19 and 25 who are residing in California illegally would be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. The agreement emerged as part of a broader $213 billion budget.
The plan would take effect in January 2020, the Sacramento Bee reported.
State officials have estimated the benefits would be available to about 90,000 low-income illegal immigrants at a cost of $98 million per year.
“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. Indeed, a family of four earning as much as six times the federal poverty level — or more than $150,000 a year — would be eligible to get about $100 a month from the government to help pay their monthly health insurance premiums.
In order to collect funds for part of it, the state made an agreement to begin taxing people who do not have health insurance. It’s a revival of the individual-mandate penalty that had been on the books nationwide under former President Barack Obama’s health-care law until Republicans in Congress revoked it as part of the 2017 overhaul to the tax code.