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California Lawmakers to Hear Bill to Expand Health Law to Undocumented Immigrants


California lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would give unauthorized immigrants the ability to buy health insurance and enroll in Medi-Cal.

The Affordable Care Act specifically excludes undocumented immigrants from new health coverage options.

In California, undocumented immigrants can receive emergency health services and some counties offer other care to people regardless of status. 

But Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Democrat Ricardo Lara says about a million unauthorized immigrants in California will remain uncovered under the Obamacare expansions.

So he’s introduced a bill that would allow them to sign up for the state’s publically funded Medi-Cal program.

Higher income immigrants would be able to buy coverage through a separate health insurance exchange.

He says insuring the undocumented would reduce emergency room overcrowding and health care costs.

Lara’s bill goes before the Senate Health committee on Wednesday.


Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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