The state of California announced this week it will begin offering health insurance to undocumented immigrants residing in the state beginning in 2024, delivering on Governor Gavin Newsom’s promise to offer universal healthcare to all Californians.
The plan to further expand the Medi-Cal program, which currently provides healthcare access to California residents, is part of Governor Newsom’s 2022-23 state budget allocations. Beginning in 2024, all undocumented residents of California of any age will have access to the Medi-Cal program, which provides state-subsidized healthcare to those who qualify.
The program does currently offer access to healthcare for some undocumented immigrants living in California who are under the age of 26 or over the age of 50, and those who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The change in 2024 will allow all undocumented individuals in the state access to health insurance, making California the first state in the union to offer universal healthcare for its inhabitants.
The change will cover an additional 700,000 people living in California, and is expected to lead to the biggest drop in uninsured individuals in the state in ten years. “This historic investment speaks to California’s commitment to health care as a human right,” said Sen. María Elena Durazo to the Sacramento Bee.
Some other states have also made moves to provide healthcare access to undocumented individuals. Illinois currently offers health insurance to undocumented people over the age of 65 and is considering expanding access to those who are between the ages of 19 and 54 and live well under the poverty line.
Oregon has also proposed legislation that would offer health insurance to undocumented immigrants whose only roadblock to being covered is their immigration status.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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