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Medi-Cal Coverage Extended To Undocumented Children In California

  

Ja'Nel Johnson | Capital Public Radio

Undocumented children in California can now receive comprehensive health insurance through Medi-Cal.

The coverage begins Monday and will provide health insurance to about 250,000 children at no or low cost to families.

Through Medi-Cal, children will also be able to access dental and mental health services.

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the Health for All Act to expand health insurance coverage to Californians regardless of their immigration status.

"We have to invest in the next generation of Californians and that also has to include our undocumented children," Lara says.

Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), Assembly health committee chair, says it is a disservice to everyone when children don't have full access to health care.

"There is no reason in this day and age that we cannot find the resources to prevent disease, to treat health care issues early, and make sure everyone is healthy all the way through their lives," Wood says.

Lara says California legislators are pushing to expand coverage even further by allowing undocumented adults to purchase a health plan through Covered California.

"The immediate need is to make sure that the federal government, that this administration, grants us this waiver to make California the first state to allow undocumented people to pay into the ACA,"Lara says.

An estimated 185,000 undocumented children are expected to sign up this year.