California will likely become the first U.S. state to offer healthcare for illegal immigrants, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
The deal between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democrats is part of a larger $213 billion budget. The new legislation would cover illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 with health insurance under Medi-Cal.
As the Sacramento Bee reported, the deal would cover low-income adults living in the state of California and would go into effect from January 2020. Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access, claimed that it would be a step in the right direction for California.
“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,” Wright stated for the Sacramento Bee.
The price tag of the new beneficiaries, however, is estimated to be $98 million per year for around 90,000 people.
The state of California has also decided to start taxing people who don’t have health insurance, an Obama-era policy that was nationwide until it was eliminated under the 2017 tax overhaul.
This Monday, conservative commentator Dan Bongino appeared on Fox News and slammed the lawmaker’s decision.
“They actually tried this in Vermont … and the Democrat, yes Democrat governor of Vermont had to pull back on it because it’s obvious fiscal insanity,” said Bongino.
State Sen. John Moorlach also shared his hesitation with the bill, stating that he is worried about the amount that the Democratic super-majority is willing to spend.
“I’ve been voting no or abstaining on a lot of spending opportunities,” Sen. John Moorlach stated. “Some people think the glass is half full, I’m looking at it as half empty, so that will maybe explain my caution on a lot of these spending votes tonight.”
A vote on the spending bill is expected later this week, with the deadline for the budget being June 15.
The latest budget agreement, which would also wipe out existing citizenship requirements to receive benefits, must be approved by the full state Legislature where Democrats enjoy a super majority.