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Undocumented Young Adults Without Medi-Cal Coverage In New State Budget

Pauline Bartolone / CALMatters

Advocates for extending healthcare benefits to all California residents, regardless of immigration status, sit in on a legislative hearing in April on a proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to buy health plans through Covered California.

Pauline Bartolone / CALMatters

Undocumented young adults looking for health care were among those receiving the short end of the stick in the state budget process this year.

California extended Medi-Cal coverage to low-income undocumented children ages 18 and under last summer. The state Legislature approved coverage to undocumented young adults ages 19 to 26 this year, but they failed to convince Gov. Jerry Brown to include it in the budget.

A 19-year-old Cal State Los Angeles student who didn't want his name used says the claim that healthy young people don't need coverage isn't true.

"Of course we are young, but we have health issues sometimes in which we are not able to afford any of them," the student says.

He says he's been fortunate that LA County offers some primary care for his chronic skin condition.

"But I'm not able to go to a specialist and to figure out what would be a better treatment for this illness," he says.

Officials in Brown's finance department say the priority this year is to maintain the existing Medi-Cal system, which continues to grow.


Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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