California lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would give unauthorized immigrants the ability to buy health insurance and enroll in Medi-Cal. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.
The Affordable Care Act specifically excludes undocumented immigrants from new health coverage options. In California, undocumented immigrants can receive emergency health services and some counties offer other care to people regardless of status.
But Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Democrat Ricardo Lara says about a million unauthorized immigrants in California will remain uncovered under the Obamacare expansions. So he’s introduced a bill that would allow them to sign up for the state’s publicly funded Medi-Cal program.
Higher income immigrants would be able to buy coverage through a separate health insurance exchange. He says insuring the undocumented would reduce emergency room overcrowding and health care costs. Lara’s bill goes before the Senate Health committee on Wednesday.