It Pays to be Illegal in California
California already provides health care benefits to illegal aliens under the age of 26, through the state’s Medi-Cal program. Starting in May, low income illegal aliens over the age of 50 will also be eligible for taxpayer funded Medi-Cal benefits. Soon, if Gov. Gavin Newsom has his way, all illegal aliens in the state will be eligible for health coverage.
According to The California Blueprint, which lays out new initiatives proposed in the state’s 2022-2023 budget, “Governor Newsom’s [plan] will make California the first state in the nation to offer universal access to healthcare coverage for all state residents, regardless of immigration status.” This is the latest, and perhaps the most expensive step the state has taken to reward illegal aliens at taxpayers’ expense. The federal Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) explicitly bars illegal aliens from eligibility because, as backers of the program acknowledged when it was enacted in 2010, doing so would pose undue cost burdens on the public and serve as a further magnet to new illegal immigration.
Gov. Newsom proposes to pay for these expanded benefits to illegal aliens out of the states $45.7 billion budget surplus – a windfall that may be short-lived. As Politico reported last year, “California’s coffers are bulging thanks to the high-flying Silicon Valley, surging stock market and a large share of professionals who were able to continue working remotely during Covid-19.” That surplus may quickly dry up as tech stocks began a decline in late 2021 and have continued to slump in early 2022. Additionally, the latest Census Bureau reports indicate that California saw a precipitous decline in population, fueled in large part by the exodus of high-earning professionals who are able to work remotely from places with far lower costs of living, lower taxes and better quality of life.
If Gov. Newsom’s plan to grant universal health care benefits “regardless of immigration status” (on top of all the other benefits the state provides to illegal aliens) comes to fruition, the inevitable result will be an even greater influx of low-income, heavily-subsidized illegal aliens. Thus, the cost of health coverage for illegal aliens will increase along with the growth in the illegal population, while vagaries of Wall Street and the exodus of high earners may leave the state with a vastly diminished revenue stream.
According to research by FAIR, California taxpayers are burdened with about $25 billion in annual costs for the benefits and services provided to illegal aliens and their dependent children. If the governor and state legislature carry through on the plan to subsidize health care benefits for illegal aliens, that figure is certain to grow significantly.