UPDATE | Governor Jerry Brown announced today the signing of Senate Bill 4, the Health for All Kids Act by Senator Ricardo Lara, according to a Friday afternoon release sent from the senator’s office. SB4 builds upon the Health for All Kids Budget action to provide coverage for all of California’s undocumented immigrant children.
California will become the state with the largest immigrant population to provide health care coverage to low-income undocumented children, according to the announcement.
“When I began the effort to expand health care coverage to undocumented Californians, many people said it couldn’t get done,” said Lara in a statement. “Just a year later, we are covering all undocumented children, becoming the largest state to do so. This is a tremendous victory that will send a message across the country that says [compassion] should always trump bigotry when we’re talking about our immigrant population.”
Lara said “we’re not done" and that there is still work left to do to cover those still uninsured.
“This major victory for the health of our state is only a down payment on achieving true health for all," he said.
California expanded Medi-Cal eligibility to all children regardless of immigration status through Lara’s recently enacted state budget action, which gives a $40 million allocation and $132 million each subsequent year, while starting in May 2016, an estimated 170,000 undocumented children will now be eligible for health care coverage under Medi-Cal, the release stated.
PREVIOUSLY: Bill Meant to Expand on State's Health For All Kids Budget Action Awaiting Governor's Approval
9/25/2015 at 1:08PM | A bill that would allow all income-eligible children in California to be covered by the state’s welfare program—regardless of their immigration status—is awaiting a signature from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office after it recently passed the State Senate and Assembly.
According to a press release from the office of Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, Senate Bill 4—which Lara authored and was passed by both houses on September 11—was tailored to ensure that the Health for All Kids Budget Action is successfully implemented.
The recently enacted state budget expanded Medi-Cal with a $40 million allocation and $132 million each following year, the release stated.
About 170,000 undocumented youth, under 19 years of age, will now be eligible for health care coverage through Medi-Cal, beginning in May, 2016.
According to the release, if the bill is signed by the governor it would achieve the following:
Clarify that children currently enrolled in restricted scope emergency Medi-Cal will not be required to submit a new application when they transition to full-scope coverage.
Ensure that children currently enrolled in restricted scope emergency Medi-Cal will be transferred to full scope services as soon as the program is operational on May 1, 2016.
Ensure that children with serious medical conditions that require specialist care who are being newly enrolled in the program will be properly evaluated and referred.
“For the first time ever, California will provide full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all kids, regardless of their immigration status, and SB4 will ensure that this action is efficiently implemented without delay,” said Lara in a statement. “California becomes the largest state to offer health care to undocumented children under the budget item. This major victory for the health of our state is only a down payment on achieving true health for all. I urge Governor Brown to sign this critical measure.”
Senate Bill 10, which will be held until next year, is the second bill in the package that will include the provision to cover adults through a capped enrollment program.
It also includes the request of a federal waiver so that immigrants can purchase health care through Covered California, according to Lara’s office.