'Golden State' Offers Free Health Care for Illegals
To help pay for it, California will begin fining citizens who don't have health insurance.
What does one do when one’s state is overwhelmed by homelessness, to the point where one of its largest cities is forced to hire a “poop patrol” to remove piles of human waste from its streets? If you’re California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democrat-controlled state legislature, you double-down: California will become the first state in the nation to offer full health care benefits … to illegal aliens.
As part of a proposed $213 billion state budget, California will dedicate $98 million to make approximately 100,000 illegals from ages 19 to 25 eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The law would take effect in January 2020. It follows months of negotiations between Newsom and the Legislature, which faces a June 15 deadline to pass the budget. If it does, that budget will begin taking effect in July.
“California believes that health is a fundamental right,” asserted state Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Democrat from Los Angeles who led the budget negotiations. Anthony Wright, executive director of advocacy group Health Access, agrees. “While it’s not all we sought, it will provide a real tangible difference for people, especially for those around and below poverty and for middle income families who don’t get any help under the federal law,” he said.
To help pay for it, California will begin fining citizens who don’t have health insurance — as in reviving the individual mandate penalty that existed under ObamaCare. That mandate was eliminated by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017, when they overhauled the tax code. Lawmakers insist the mandate will fund insurance-premium subsidies for middle-income Californians, but they still added another $450 million over three years to the subsidy pie, because some of those lawmakers argued the mandate alone wouldn’t make health insurance affordable.
That the individual mandate, along with the rest of ObamaCare’s anti-free-market penalties and regulations drove insurance premiums through the roof? Progressives never let basic economic realities — or their wholly owned failures — get in the way of “compassion.”
Yet their compassion is rather suspect. Newsom rejected a plan proposed by the state Senate to cover illegals 65 and older, because it would have been unaffordable.
The California Immigrant Policy Center wasn’t pleased. “The exclusion of undocumented elders from the same health care their U.S. citizen neighbors are eligible for means beloved community members will suffer and die from treatable conditions,” the advocacy group declared in a statement.
By contrast, Wright remained optimistic, tweeting, “We will continue to pursue steps towards the Governor’s & Legislature’s shared goal of getting to universal coverage in the next few years.”
Really? In 2017, the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee analysis concluded it would cost $400 billion — as in nearly twice the state’s currently proposed budget — to provide single-payer coverage. The state’s share of that cost was pegged at approximately $200 billion, based on the assumption it would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state, and federal funding it was receiving. And like this latest gambit, it would have included coverage of illegal aliens.
Not everyone is on board with this latest effort. As the Associated Press noted, the Republicans on the legislative committee “voted against the proposal, arguing it was not fair to give health benefits to people who are in the country illegally while taxing people who are here legally for not purchasing health insurance.”
Yet in a de facto one-party state like California, Republicans are virtually irrelevant.
Washington, DC? One suspects the Trump administration, already trying to stem the flood illegals pouring into this nation, would hardly be willing to fully fund a plan that further incentivizes them to do so.
Regardless, it seems progressives who run California are incapable of understanding the implications of such incentivization. Columnist Monica Showalter is not. “As if that $98 million is really going to cover [the plan’s costs] as migrants from Central America and beyond surge into the U.S. in record numbers, and five million from Latin America alone [are] planning to enter the U.S. with or without papers,” she writes. “California, remember, was quite convinced $39 billion would cover the cost of its famed bullet train up and down the state in 2008. The price tag now, with just a tiny portion of it out in the Central Valley to be built? $98 billion.”
California legislators also believe most people won’t see the political gamesmanship in play here. Columnist Sammy Caiola gives one a hint. “In a pie chart of California’s undocumented population, seniors make up only a sliver,” he explains.
Yet as mentioned above, covering them would be unaffordable — because they need health care the most. By contrast, illegals between the ages of 19 and 25, like their American counterparts, are the demographic that needs health care the least.
In other words, this effort reeks of political opportunism, based on three ideas. One, it is far more likely young illegals will live long enough to get some sort of “pathway to citizenship” or amnesty than older, or elderly, illegals. Two, providing them with “free” health insurance grooms them to embrace socialism.
Number three? “In a stance to distance itself from President Trump’s administration, California is set to become the first state in the country to pay for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to have full health benefits,” Fox News reports. “The move continues to stake California’s position as a bulwark against the policies of Republican President Donald Trump,” the Huffington Post echoed.
In other words, California Democrats are determined to make their state the epicenter of “The Resistance.”
At what price? As Showalter notes, California’s current illegal population “stands at a quarter of the nation’s count.”
After this bill passes? Maybe the question to ask is not whether California will be the first state in the nation to brazenly reward wholesale law-breaking at the expense of its own citizens, but whether it will be the first state in the nation where the illegal population ultimately exceeds the number of citizens.
Such a scenario may not be that far off. According to a survey by Edelman Intelligence, 53% of Californians are already considering moving out, due to the state’s steadily increasing cost of living. For the Millennial generation, the number jumps to 63%.
“There have been other signs of the California exodus,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported last February. “In December, it was revealed that one of the most frequently Googled questions in California last year was ‘Should I move out?’”
After this bill passes, it might be more apropos to wonder how many illegals will be asking themselves “how soon can I move in?”
Maybe that question has already been answered. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website reveals that family unit apprehensions at the state’s San Diego and El Centro border sectors have seen a staggering 611% and 345% increase, respectively.
How many others slipped through? Moreover, what will California do if 100,000 eligible illegals becomes 200,000? Or 300,000?
Only a Democrat Party dedicated to the “fundamental transformation of the United States” knows for sure.