California lawmakers agree to health benefits for immigrants

Henrietta Strickland
June 12, 2019

The legislature also rejected a new tax on residential water bills that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom had proposed to make improvements to drinking water systems across the state.

The budget comes after Democratic lawmakers, who dominate the state capitol, scrapped a proposal to provide Medi-Cal coverage to adults over 65 years old.

The agreement is part of a sweeping $213 billion budget plan that includes another national first: It would stretch eligibility for health insurance subsidies under Covered California to middle-class families earning up to 600% of the federal poverty level.

Convey Democrats agreed on Sunday that adults between the ages of 19 to 25 could perhaps even serene be pleased entry to Medi-Cal, the narrate's low-revenue insurance protection programme. Democrats now hold a supermajority in both the state House and Senate and the legislation is expected to pass.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access, said he sees this plan as a great start. Under the agreement, a family of four who earns as much as $150,000 a year would be eligible to avail around $100 per month.

The budget also proposed increased subsidies for eligible people enrolling in plans on Covered California, the state's ACA exchange. The state plans to partially fund the program by taxing uninsured Americans, bringing back an individual mandate penalty, which was once a nationwide penalty under the Obama administration.

"California believes that health is a fundamental right", said state Senator Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who led the budget negotiations.

The proposal also constitutes a double rebuke of US president Donald Trump - who in addition to scrapping Obama's individual mandate as part of his 2017 tax plan is desperately trying to slow the surge of illegal aliens into this country. Lawmakers have until midnight on Saturday to do so or they forfeit pay. California law sets a June 15 deadline to enact a budget, otherwise lawmakers face losing their pay. But Newsom opposed that, noting it would cost an estimated $3.4bn. For the past three years, California has subsidized health care for a quarter million undocumented children - at an annual cost of more than $360 million. Most of that money - about $100 million - would come from the state's sale of carbon credits as part of its "cap and trade" program. But to pay for it, he wanted to selectively adopt some of the changes to the federal tax code that Trump signed into law in 2017.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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