Undocumented Immigration In California

Capital Public Radio’s News Department is devoting a whole year to examining one of the most important and polarizing issues of our time. Our goal is to create a body of work that will enlighten and advance the conversation in California and beyond.

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Undocumented Immigrants Have Limited Health Care Coverage, 'Health For All Act' Would Expand It

meddygarnet / Flickr
 

meddygarnet / Flickr

The "Health For All Act" would allow lower-income undocumented immigrants to sign up for full Medi-Cal coverage. It would allow others to buy health insurance completely on their own.

Some urgent and acute health care needs of undocumented people are already covered by Medi-Cal.

"Currently federal law requires the state to cover emergency and pregnancy services to the undocumented population," says Amber Didier, policy analyst with the Legislative Analyst's Office.

Last fiscal year, Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented immigrants cost over a billion dollars. The federal government covered about half that. 

Rene Mollow is with the California Department of Health Care Services.

"There may be some individuals that may also receive long term care services, as well as services that we provide through the program that is known as the breast and cervical cancer treatment program," says Mollow.

Consumer advocates say the "Health For All Act" would cover people for preventive services, hospital stays and prescription drugs. They say it would increase the state's costs, but it would be a better use of health care dollars.

 

Click here to see an interactive graphic on Medi-Cal spending on health care services for undocumented immigrants.