Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing to extend health care coverage to all undocumented Californians.
The expansion of Medi-Cal would make California the first state in the nation to provide universal access to all residents regardless of legal status. This proposal is included in the governor's state budget plan with a projected surplus of around $45 billion. Coverage would begin on January 1st, 2024 and would cost the state an ongoing $2.7 billion dollars annually. “I think that the ideal system is a single-payer system, I’ve been consistent with that for well over a decade" said Newsom. "The difference here is when you are in a position of responsibility, you’ve gotta apply, you’ve gotta manifest, the ideal. This is hard work. It’s one thing to say, it’s another to do. And with respect, there are many different pathways to achieve the goal.”
While California already covers healthcare costs for low-income people younger than 26 and those over 50, the proposal also closes the gap to include all ages. The bill is already drawing criticism from across the aisle, particularly Kern County Republican Assemblymember Tom Lackey, who sits on the budget committee. "It's a dishonest proposal, because it's giving false promises," Lackey said, "And we're not even talking about the cost, which is the most glaring challenge that faces our public healthcare crisis."
The bill will need to be passed by the state Legislature in order to take effect.