California eyes health care for immigrants in US illegally

Gavin Newsom speech file
Posted at 5:33 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 20:33:45-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers are considering proposals that would make the state the first in the nation to offer government-funded health care to adult immigrants living in the country illegally.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed covering immigrants 19 to 25.

A proposal in the state Senate would expand that coverage to include people 65 and older, while the Assembly is considering a bill that would extend benefits to all low-income immigrants 19 and older.

California already covers immigrants 18 and younger regardless of their status.

A final decision on wider coverage may come down to cost.

Newsom estimates his plan covering young adults would cost $98 million a year. Legislative staffers estimate the Senate's plan could cost $304 million and the Assembly proposal $3.2 billion annually.

Newsom estimates California will have a $21.5 billion budget surplus. But he has urged lawmakers to constrain spending, warning the next recession could cost the state $70 billion in revenue.