California will likely become the first state in the country to offer healthcare for illegal immigrants, costing taxpayers millions.
The deal between Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrats is part of a larger $213 billion budget. The new legislation would cover illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 with health insurance under Medi-Cal.
According to a report by the Sacramento Bee, the deal would cover low-income adults living in the state and would go into effect January 2020. Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access, argued that it would be a step in the right direction for the state.
“While it’s not all we sought, it will provide a real tangible difference for people, especially for those around and below poverty and for middle-income families who don’t get any help under the federal law,” Wright said to the Sacramento Bee.
However, the price tag of the new beneficiaries is estimated to be $98 million per year for around 90,000 people. The state has also decided to start taxing people who do not have health insurance, an Obama-era policy that was nationwide until it was eliminated under the 2017 tax overhaul.
During an interview with Fox News on Monday, conservative commentator Dan Bongino slammed the lawmaker’s decision.
“They actually tried this in Vermont … and the Democrat, yes Democrat governor of Vermont had to pull back on it because it’s obvious fiscal insanity,” said Bongino.
State Sen. John Moorlach also shared his hesitation with the bill, saying that he is worried about the amount that the Democratic supermajority is willing to spend.
“I’ve been voting no or abstaining on a lot of spending opportunities,” Moorlach said. “Some people think the glass is half full, I’m looking at it as half empty, so that will maybe explain my caution on a lot of these spending votes tonight.”
A vote on the spending bill is expected later this week, with the deadline for the budget being June 15.