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California bill to provide MediCal to all adults, regardless of immigration status

A doctor's office at the South Los Angeles Family Health Center.
A doctor's office at the South Los Angeles Family Health Center.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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A recent Senate Bill from Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) would extend MediCal to all adults in the state, regardless of their immigration status.

According to Lara, the state is already picking up the healthcare tab for all adults in the state, via emergency room visits. His plan would standardize that coverage and help fill the gaps left by our immigration policy.

But opponents are concerned about the $3 billion a year price tag, as well as whether this move would be legal. Since the Federal government provides a big part of the Medicaid budget, the state has to follow Federal rules. Another concern is that this policy might attract more undocumented immigrants to the state.

Would this legislation be legal? Would it be financially viable with California’s foreseeable budget? What are the benefits and trade offs?


Almas Sayeed, deputy director of programs and counsel for the California Immigrant Policy Center, an immigrant rights organization; they are a co-sponsor of the bill

Joel Hay, professor of Health Policy and Economics at USC