State senator pushes for health care for those in California illegally

A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A California lawmaker wants to use a state version of the Affordable Care Act to provide health care access to immigrants who are in the state illegally.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, says if the goal of the federal health care law is to provide coverage to the uninsured, then immigration status should be irrelevant.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Lara plans to introduce legislation that would allow people who are not legal residents get coverage.

There's a big roadblock, however. Federal law bars those in the country illegally from obtaining coverage through Covered California, the state health insurance exchange.

Lara, the head of the Legislature's Latino caucus, says he's looking for other options, including expanding Medi-Cal.

Republican lawmakers are criticizing Lara's plan.