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California Senate approves free healthcare for some illegals

examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/article/california-senate-approves-free-healthcare-for-some-illegals
California Senate approves free healthcare for some illegals
California does it again. When so many of her citizens, who were born in the U.S. or immigrated here legally, are
without adequate healthcare, the Golden State opts to favor those who chose to hop-the fence. Tuesday the L.A.
Times reports that the California State Senate approved a controversial measure, SB 4, allowing many illegal
immigrants to sign up for special healthcare programs offering the same benefits as Medi-Cal.
The bill, which is supposedly significantly scaled back from the original, would allow up to 240,000 minors to sign up
for Medi-Cal. It would also allow “low-income” adults to sign up for a different program that provides the same
services. For those with a higher income, if the government permits, non-subsidized coverage through Covered
California would available for purchase. The complaints from those here illegally range from long wait times in
emergency waiting rooms to fear of accumulating medical debt. Isn’t that true of pretty much anyone who has had to
go to the E.R. or had medical care? But California feels the illegal immigrants should be free of these encumbrances.
With most but not all Republicans opposed to the legislation, the vote was 28-11. Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Murrieta) said the
legislation only makes worse a shortage of physicians to treat patients on Medi-Cal. “This bill would only add
hundreds of thousands of patients to the rolls with no one to care for them,” Stone said. On the other hand, Sen. Andy
Vidak (R-Hanford) said he supported the bill, saying “the taxpayers are already paying high healthcare costs for
undocumented when they show up in our emergency rooms.” The bill goes to the Assembly next for consideration.
According to Contra Costa Times Tuesday, had the original bill not been scaled down by by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell
Gardens), it would have cost taxpayers from $175 million to $740 million annually. Apparently Governor Brown thought
this was too high. Until an upcoming fiscal analysis is released, the exact cost of the amended SB 4 won’t be known
although Lara spokesman Jesse Melgar, said he believes the cost will be lower than $175 million.
Lara tugged at his fellow senators’ heartstrings stating, “Your vote today, will be one you remember long beyond this
year in this chamber because it would help the two million undocumented workers who toil in our fields, clean your
hotel rooms, take care of your babies and provide much-needed support for your families.” He added, “We are talking
about our friends, we are talking about our neighbors and our families who are denied basic health care in the richest
state of this union. Ensuring that every child in California grows up healthy and with an opportunity to thrive and
succeed is simply the right thing to do.”
Another front-and-center debate at the Capitol during final budget negotiations, is an effort to reverse a 10 percent cut
to the Medi-Cal reimbursement payments from 2011. Many lawmakers argue that doctors simply cannot afford to
accept new Medi-Cal patients. If true, adding 2 million more to the Medi-Cal roles will definitely exacerbate the issue.