Sac Bee: California senator unveils bill to give health care to undocumented immigrants

A plan to provide undocumented immigrants in California access to subsidized health care has been spelled out in Senate Bill 1005 by Sen.Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens.

Undocumented immigrants are excluded from the federal Affordable Care Act that is now offering legal residents the ability to purchase health insurance through government-run marketplaces.

Lara’s bill would create two avenues for Californians who are in the country illegally to seek health care. The state would expand Medi-Cal to include undocumented immigrants whose incomes are under 138 percent of the poverty level — about $32,000 a year for a family of four. And for undocumented immigrants who make more than that, the state would create a marketplace to sell insurance products.

The marketplace would be similar to Covered California — the state’s exchange that was created to sell insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The bill does not spell out a cost for California to extend health insurance to undocumented immigrants.

“We are doing the number crunching now,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the Health Access advocacy group that is supporting Lara’s bill.


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