Starting this week in California over 170,000 undocumented children are now able to enroll in state-funded health insurance plans. This statewide measure provides comprehensive health care services that’s unavailable to the children of undocumented immigrants under Obamacare.
The initiative is called “Health4AllKids,” is an expansion of Medi-Cal (California’s Medicare program) which allows low-income kids under the age of 19 to receive affordable care regardless of immigration status.
Before the expansion, California’s Department of Health Care Services estimates that 114,981 undocumented kids were previously only eligible for restricted-scope Medi-Cal services. Another 55,019 children were not eligible for any services.
Now undocumented children can receive the full scope of Medi-Cal services such as dental, routine preventative and primary care, mental health services, and behavioral health care for children with autism.
According to First Focus, a children’s advocacy group, the goal of the expansion is to guarantee health care for a segment of the population that “for the most part only had limited access to emergency-only services.”
For children to qualify, their family must meet the low-income requirements, which asserts that a family of four must make below $65,505 per year. According to the Desert Sun, families with incredibly low income may qualify for free coverage while other families will pay between $19 per child or $39 for multiple children.
California is now the fifth state to extend local health care coverage to undocumented children, following New York, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington state.
— First Focus (@First_Focus) May 17, 2016
According to Think Progress, between 2.7 and 3.4 million California residents are currently uninsured; this includes 1.4 million undocumented immigrants who are unable to afford private insurance.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) is the sponsor the Health4AllKids program. The senator, who himself is the son of an undocumented immigrant, argued that extending services to the children of undocumented immigrants would save California money by reducing emergency room bills.
Many uninsured and undocumented people do not seek heath care treatment until they walk or roll into an emergency room. Hospitals are not allowed to turn any patient away due to their insurance or citizenship status; this costs California’s economy between $18.3 and $36.7 billion in lost productivity according to a 2009 report from the Center for American Progress.
Conservatives are likely to rail against this program, fortunately, for them, they can now see a doctor after they have their aneurysms thanks to Obamacare.