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Bill To Extend Medi-Cal To Undocumented Immigrants Moves Forward

Apr 30, 2014

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Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 The California Senate Health Committee approved a bill today that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for  Medi-Cal benefits. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports.

Backers of the bill say it would prevent millions of people from having to forego needed medical care because they can’t afford it. Democratic State Senator Ricardo Lara says his bill would give immigrants access to a system they help pay for.

Lara: “In 2010 alone, undocumented immigrants contributed $2.2 billion in state and local taxes.”

But, Joe Guzzardi with the group Californians for Population Stabilization says the bill would make legal residents subsidize people who violated immigration law.

Guzzardi: “It’s hurtful to California citizens or legal immigrants, who certainly are going to have to fund this.”

Bill supporters say public hospital emergency room visits cost tax payers more in the long run. The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.