California Legislature Debates Expanding Medicaid To Undocumented Young People And Seniors

Jun 6, 2019

The debate over expanding Medi-Cal to undocumented adults comes to a head this week as lawmakers finalize the state budget.  Capital Public Radio’s Sammy Caiola breaks down what’s at stake.

Governor Gavin Newsom wants to expand Medicaid to undocumented young adults up to age 26. California would be the first state to do it.

But some lawmakers want to cover all undocumented residents. And the Senate is pulling for undocumented young adults AND seniors.

Labor organizer Fatima Garcia says the elderly desperately need coverage, especially those who’ve spent decades working in the fields.

“It’s really hard for them to obtain a job where they could gain any benefits. So at the end of their strong working cycle, they end up just being forgotten, with a lot of health problems.”

Expanding Medi-Cal to seniors would cost an estimated $62-and-a-half million dollars. Newsom is concerned about the price tag of covering more than just young adults.

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[TAG]: This story was produced in partnership with the USC Center for Health Journalism Collaborative. Find more stories about the undocumented and uninsured at Capradio.org/uncovered-california