California was poised Monday to become the first state to provide health care coverage to young, low-income adults living in the country illegally after legislative leaders provided a thumbs-up to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $98 million plan targeting almost 100,000 low-income adults.
The full Legislature still must sign off on the plan that would make such immigrants 19 to 25 eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The deal was a win for Newsom, who rejected as too expensive a state Senate plan to include adults 65 and older.
Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access, said further expansion of the program could come in the future.
“We will continue to pursue steps towards the Governor’s & Legislature’s shared goal of getting to universal coverage in the next few years,” Wright posted on Twitter.
The move is part of a larger effort to ensure everyone in the state has access to health insurance. The proposal also makes California the first state to subsidize insurance for middle-income families. A family of four earning as much as six times the federal poverty level – or more than $150,000 a year – would be eligible for $100 a month from the government to help pay for insurance. Newsom had initially balked at the subsidy but ultimately relented.
Lawmakers have until Saturday to approve the budget or face losing their pay.
“California believes that health is a fundamental right,” said state Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who led the budget negotiations.
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