CA senator wants health care for state’s undocumented

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 9, 2014

LOS ANGELES – While President Barack Obama has touted the Affordable Care Act as one of his biggest accomplishments in office, community advocates say many are still left out, especially because of their immigration status.

One California lawmaker is trying to change that with the Health Care for All bill.

The current Affordable Care Act aims to give health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

This new bill is expected to be re-introduced by State Sen. Ricardo Lara in November, and like the previous bill, it is expected to be co-sponsored by Filipino American Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

Senator Lara spoke at a New America Media briefing recently.

“It’s going to save us money in the long term,” she said. “We’re going to be able to have a healthier community, and when we say health care for all, we mean health care for all. Unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t cover our undocumented communities, and we have a lot of families who are mixed households where some have health insurance and some don’t, because of immigration status.”

Undocumented immigrants say while they wait for immigration reform to pass or for President Obama to issue executive orders to give them deportation relief, staying healthy has been a challenge.

“We all go through aches and pains, and a lot rely on over-the-counter medicines,” said Alessandro Negrete, an undocumented immigrant. “A lot of us go to emergency rooms and if we were a smart state we would realize that preventive care is a lot less costly than emergency care. A lot of those services provided we’d save a lot of money.”

Community advocates say there is one group that can get state funded subsidized health care coverage.

California-based DREAMers, under the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), are eligible for certain medical coverage in the Golden State.

“I was relieved by the fact now that I was able now to go to the doctor and not be worried about my hospital bill,” said Reyna Moreno, a DACA recipient.

“The problem is the word isn’t out, especially in the Asian student undocumented population,” said Sandy Close of New America Media. “They may have DACA status. They don’t know they qualify for medical.”

But as it is, advocates are already having a hard time convincing more undocumented youth to apply for DACA – so far only 4,000 kababayans have applied for the relief.

Senator Lara will take the next few weeks to iron out the Health Care for All bill, exploring the possibilities of protecting beneficiaries and also figuring out how to fund the proposed bill.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • noz
    9 September 2014 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    the talk, it will save them money, the outcome is always the opposite. the same scenario when obozo was selling his obamacare. these politicians voted in power by their constituents are introducing a bill, that is in contradiction with the federal obamacare. it’s easy for these politicians to put up bills, that may turnout expensive, and if it does to them it’s no problem, just raise the taxes of the people of CA, correction – it’s mexifornia.

  • Mario
    10 September 2014 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Sen Lara & Assmblymn Bonta are you looking for more votes, “save us money in the long term” HOW, Millions of illegals from your neighboring States will move-in to CA, because of free health care. Where do you get the money, increase State Tax on foods, property,Car, gasoline,plastic bags, sales ect.? Both of you are typical liberal Democrat,use common sense, do you think hardworking Californians are stupid and ready to pay more taxes? 69% American hates Obamacare,58% not in favor on illegal amnesty, come November election, Republican might control both Congress and Senate.It means Obama could not sign exec action on illegal alien amnesty anymore, because it is an impeachable offense.Obama’s,dumping of illegal kids infected with respiratory illness that is infecting the whole community in every state, if proven, is also an impeachable offense.

  • filam
    10 September 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    And Americans need to pay for their healthcare

    And more taxes

    They did not earn freebies and are not entitled to it