With Homelessness a Crisis, California Wants to Insure Illegal Senior Citizens



California Gov. Gavin Newsom has termed homelessness a “national crisis” and represents “a real emergency” in his state, so it makes complete sense that he wants to extend to illegal aliens over the age of 65 the benefit of coverage under the state’s Medicaid program. After all, what’s another $64.2 million annual payout to illegal aliens ?

Well, if that’s not fiscally illogical enough, the governor’s anti-homelessness plan actually proposes using funds from the Medi-Cal program to pay down the $1.4 billion price tag. According to the governor’s calculations, it makes sense to take from a program designed to meet the health care needs of low-income Californians and spend on aging illegal aliens and housing needs of the homeless?

Newsom assures that extending the benefit of health care coverage to another illegal demographic will actually contain the skyrocketing costs of health care in the state.

“The Budget also moves the state toward universal coverage and furthers cost containment goals by expanding full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to low-income undocumented Californians aged 65 and above,” he maintained.

In order to understand the insanity of the present, it is worth recalling the nonsensical course of events that brought California to rewarding those lawbreakers who’ve been here the longest.

In 2016, then-Gov. Jerry Brown and the California legislature opened the door to illegal health insurance when they passed and signed a law allowing illegal immigrants under the age of 19 to access Medi-Cal. Since 2016, more than $360 million a year has been spent to insure illegal immigrant children.

In the budget signed into law last spring, California chose to further expand Medi-Cal coverage to illegal aliens through the age of 26, a benefit which eats approximately $98 million of the state’s budget just in the first year. According to CALmatters, the potential cost of giving coverage to low-income illegal immigrant young adults could be as high as $1 billion.

Now that senior non-citizens will be covered, just tack on an additional $121 million annually, according to the Los Angeles Times. Who would pay for the cost of covering more illegal immigrants? Part of it would be picked up by Californians who forgo health insurance and are required to pay a fine. Interestingly, the state health insurance marketplace does exempt some individuals from the fines, including those in prison, those who fall under the federal poverty line and “certain non-citizens who are not lawfully present.” In other words, citizens who opt not to purchase health insurance have no health insurance and pay a fine. Illegal aliens who decide not to get insurance are not penalized, while those who want it will get a taxpayer subsidy.

The willingness to commit more than a billion dollars a year to insuring illegal immigrants makes even less sense when several demographic changes are considered.

The first is that the state’s population is now growing at the slowest rate since 1900 and many residents are moving for more favorable tax, housing and business climates, and birth rates continue to decline. And it is an aging population that will be unable to sustain the ballooning benefits politicians today are handing out.

Many believe that the extension of Medi-Cal to more illegal immigrants will exacerbate an existing physician shortage in the state. Lastly, there are existing problems in the state’s health system that Newsom and the legislature need to address before pouring money down the drain.

“Healthcare accessibility is about more than just the uninsured rate. After all, insurance is useless if a patient can’t find a hospital or doctor who will see him — or if his coverage doesn’t afford him access to the right medications and treatments,” says Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute.

About Author

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.

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