California to Expand Healthcare Coverage of Undocumented Youth

Credit: wutwhanfoto

In early July, California became the first state in the country to provide government-subsidized healthcare to low-income, undocumented immigrants under the age of 25. Prior to the passage of this law, California has still allowed children under the age of 18 to apply and receive the state’s Medicaid program despite their immigration status. The expansion of the plan is estimated to cover about 90,000 people. Similar measures to allow undocumented immigrants to receive some form of government-backed health insurance is a policy backed by most of the presidential candidates running for the Democratic party’s nomination. It is also a widely supported proposal among Californians, as well, garnering nearly two-thirds support among Californians. This in a heavily immigrant, where an estimated 14% of those in the state without legal status. Despite the popularity of such measures in California, a recent survey among registered Democrats showed only a 41% approval rating of providing undocumented immigrants with some form of government-backed health insurance. Regardless, Governor Gavin Newsom introduced the measure as a stark contrast of President Trump’s increasingly anti-immigrant platform and rhetoric, noting that “if you believe in universal healthcare, you believe in universal healthcare.” Unsurprisingly, the measure is unpopular among Republicans lawmakers in California, with them arguing the state should stop spending money on its legal citizens instead of taking action that could simply attract more undocumented people to the state, despite studies demonstrating they contribute billions to the nationally economy. It is imperative to note the plan will not cover all undocumented immigrants under the age of 25, simply those whose incomes are low enough to qualify, which will cost California taxpayes about $98 million. President Trump has already criticized the plan, calling it “crazy” and “unfair to citizens.” He has said there will be legal challenges to the expansion but failed to specify what kind or where the challenges will initiate.