California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to offer free health care to illegal aliens age 65 and older in his new state budget, which is due to be unveiled on Friday, which would make California the first state to do so.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that despite opposing legislation last year to expand the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, to illegal alien seniors because it would be too costly, Newsom has changed his position.
The Times explains (original links):
The relatively small population of seniors who live in the state without legal immigration status means the cost of covering them — estimated to be $121 million a year — is a fraction of the state’s overall $215-billion budget. But Medi-Cal already covers a third of California’s residents, and critics of expanding the program argue it is already struggling with long wait times because of too few doctors who are willing to accept the state’s low reimbursement rates.
California is being closely watched by Democrats as a test case for “Medicare for All,” which many of the 2020 presidential candidates have embraced, notably Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Many have also embraced the idea of granting free health care to illegal aliens. In the first presidential debate of the primary, every single candidate onstage — including former Vice President Joe Biden — raised their hands when asked which of them would favor free health care for illegal aliens — a moment seized upon by conservative critics.
Last July, Newsom signed a law to expand Medi-Cal to illegal aliens under the age of 26, making the state the first to offer free health care to adults in the U.S. illegally. That law took effect this month. California has offered free health care to illegal alien children up to age 19 since 2015. The only group of illegal aliens (partially) excluded from the program would be adults between ages 26 and 65.
State taxpayers bear the entire burden of the expansions because Obamacare, as written, prevents federal funds from being used to cover illegal aliens, the Times notes.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.