In-Depth: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced this bill to ensure Medicaid’s long-term integrity by preventing states like California from using federal funds to extend Medicaid benefits to unauthorized immigrants:
“[California] Governor Newsom’s plan [to extend Medicaid to unauthorized immigrants] is a giant magnet for more illegal immigration, and it will hurt California citizens who depend on Medicaid.Simple math says you can’t add the entire population of another country to Medicaid and still take care of the American citizens who need it. In addition, the plan is unfair to vulnerable Americans and it’s not fair to middle-class families paying taxes—taking care of them should be our priority. Compassion that cannot be sustained is not compassion.”
On Twitter, Sen. Cassidy added:
“Federal tax dollars should benefit Americans, not reward people from other countries who break the law. That only encourages more illegal immigration."
Governor Newsom argues that healthcare is a “basic human right,” writing on Twitter that:
“Healthcare should be a basic human right. Republicans in DC are already attacking our efforts to provide quality, affordable healthcare to everyone who calls CA home. We cannot accept the status quo. We must keep demanding better care for ALL Californians."
This bill has nine cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans.
Of Note: Federal law already bars unauthorized immigrants from receiving Medicaid, but individual states, such as New York and California, have used state funds to expand Medicaid coverage to unauthorized immigrants. These states effectively sponsor these programs with federal dollars by not counting the administrative costs of providing Medicaid to additional individuals who’d otherwise be ineligible for support.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has pledged that California will provide “sanctuary to all who seek it,” and proposed raising the age threshold to receive government-funded coverage, known as Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status, from 19 to 26 for low-income people. Newsom’s plan would go into effect beginning July 19, 2019, and would be expected to cover 138,000 people at the cost of $260 million over FY2019-2020.
When states use their own funds to expand healthcare services to unauthorized immigrants, it’s difficult for the federal government to determine when state or federal funds are being used.
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / baona)