California has become the first state in the country to offer government-subsidized health benefits to young adults living in the U.S. illegally.
Gov. Gavin Newsom in California signed a bill into law on Tuesday offering Medicaid insurance program to about 90,000 people, young immigrants, low-income adults age 25 and younger, regardless of their immigration status. State officials said they expected the plan to cover about 90,000 people and cost taxpayers $98 million. The law will not give health insurance benefits to everyone but only those whose income is low enough to qualify. Advocates of the measure have called it a way to improve the health of immigrants in the state by providing them with access to the medical care they need. Many immigrants in the country illegally already have been enrolled for some government-funded programs, but they covered only emergencies and pregnancies.
At this moment, it would cost about $3.4 billion to provide coverage to all California adults living in the country illegally. The idea of giving health benefits to undocumented immigrants is supported by most of the Democratic candidates running for president. A March survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that almost two-thirds of state residents support providing coverage to young adults who are not legally authorized to live in the country. Trump has publicly attacked Newsom's plans.