UPDATE: State Senate approves Sen. Lara’s Bill to Expand Healthcare to Undocumented Immigrants; Bill Advances to Assembly

UPDATE | Today, the California State Senate approved Senator Ricardo Lara's (D-Bell Gardens) bill that would expand healthcare to undocumented immigrants, Lara's office announced this morning. 

The measure passed by a vote of 28 to 11, and will advance to the State Assembly for consideration. According to a release issued this morning, today's approval marks the first passage of a bill to expand healthcare to undocumented individuals by any legislative body. 

“Today’s vote is a transformational and decisive step forward on the path to achieving health for all,” said Lara in a statement. “Over the past year I’ve worked to draft a bill that is realistic, balanced and fiscally prudent, while arriving at our goal of expanding access to health care for some of our most vulnerable communities. That’s what we’ve achieved with SB4 – allow undocumented Californians to purchase health insurance through a waiver, cover all children and establish a capped enrollment program for adults.”

"Today's vote marks a major turning point in the long quest to heal the unjust exclusion of undocumented Californians from health care," said Reshma Shamasunder, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center in a statement. "The Senate has taken a key step toward upholding a basic human right and has set a solid foundation which we are well-positioned to build upon in the future."

PREVIOUSLY: State Sen. Lara’s Bill to Expand Healthcare to Undocumented Immigrants Clears Senate Appropriations Committee

5/28/15 3:09PM | Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill sponsored by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that would expand healthcare to undocumented immigrants, his office announced.

A release issued this afternoon called the bill (SB4) the first proposal of its kind to provide access to healthcare for all Californians, regardless of immigration status. It will proceed to the full State Senate for review.

“Today’s vote represents a historic step forward on the path towards achieving health for all,” said Lara in a statement. “The amendments reflect two things: what we can realistically achieve now, and what we hope to achieve in the near future. Ensuring that everyone in California is healthy is what’s right for our state.”

The bill works to achieve three things: allow undocumented California residents to purchase health insurance with a waiver, allow children 19 and under to enroll in a Medi-Cal program that will provide services as funding is allocated.

According to the release, over one million immigrants lack access to affordable health care in California, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) excluded undocumented immigrants from coverage through Covered California.

Senate Appropriations Committee amended to bill due to concerns regarding cost before its final approval. Five voted in favor and two voted against the bill’s advancement.



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