Starting Jan. 1, 2024, California will become the first state in the nation to offer “free” healthcare to illegal aliens.
As the new year kicks off, the state is set to launch a new program that will allow all illegals of any age to utilize Medi-Cal, California’s version of the federal Medicaid program, according to ABC News.
Until now, illegal alien adults were not qualified to be given comprehensive health insurance, though they were allowed to be covered for certain emergency services, such as pregnancy complications, under Medi-Cal rules updated in 2014.
But, despite ongoing budget deficits, illegals in California have been steadily gaining more coverage over the years.
In 2015, the state legislature allowed for children to be entered into Medi-Cal. Then in 2019, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law allowing illegals up to ages 25 to gain access to Medi-Cal. On the heels of that expansion, Medi-Cal was then opened up to illegals aged 50 and up.
According to California Democrat State Sen. María Elena Durazo, the expansion set to go into effect on Monday will allow the remainder of the illegal alien population, an additional 700,000 illegals, to enter Medi-Cal.
“This historic investment speaks to California’s commitment to health care as a human right,” Durazo proclaimed in a statement on her legislator’s website.
“This is a game-changer,” said Democrat Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, according to the New York Post. “It’s one of the most important pieces of legislation that’s gonna go through this house because the ability to give health care means the ability to live life without pain.”
Liberal Gov. Newsom also celebrated the massive expansion of Medi-Cal.
“In California, we believe everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care coverage — regardless of income or immigration status,” Newsom’s office told ABC. “Through this expansion, we’re making sure families and communities across California are healthier, stronger, and able to get the care they need when they need it.”
Not everyone agrees that this huge expansion is a good idea.
“The expansion was a bad idea when the state’s coffers were flush. Now that California is struggling to make ends meet, using taxpayer money to cover non-citizens is simply irresponsible,” said Sally Pipes, CEO of the Pacific Research Institute think tank, according to Post.
Pipes added that many doctors are already refusing to take on patients covered under Medi-Cal because reimbursement rates to so low and slow in coming.
“Many on Medi-Cal are already having a hard time finding doctors to treat them because of low reimbursement rates these doctors receive from the government,” Pipes said. “If those on Medi-Cal can find a doctor, they are facing very long waits for care.”
The California Senate Republican Caucus also opposes the new program.
“The Governor proposes to spend an additional $2.2 billion General Fund annually to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to roughly 764,000 undocumented individuals ages 26 through 49, starting in 2024,” the legislative group wrote early this year. “This would be the final expansion of Medi-Cal to the undocumented population after recent expansions to roughly 203,000 undocumented children and young adults (age 25 and under) and 235,000 undocumented older adults (age 50 and above). Medi- Cal is already strained by serving 14.6 million Californians — more than a third of the state’s population. Adding 764,000 more individuals to the system will certainly exacerbate current provider access problems.”
The new medical coverage will set the state back an additional $3.1 billion per year in healthcare costs, and $1.2 billion in just the first six months, the Associated Press reported.
The expansion comes just as the state woke up to a $68 billion budget deficit, largely due to tax revenue decline because so many citizens and businesses moved away from the state.
Former President Donald Trump has also blasted California over these ongoing expansions of free offerings to illegals.
“If you look at what they’re doing in California, how they’re treating people, they don’t treat their people as well as they treat illegal immigrants,” Trump said in 2019. “So, at what point does it stop? It’s crazy what they’re doing. It’s crazy. And it’s mean, and it’s very unfair to our citizens.”