Originally published June 22 2015
California wants to force taxpayers to subsidize illegal immigrant children's health
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Progressives have a lock on government in California and have for decades, so when the state nearly went bankrupt a few years ago, their high-tax, high-spending policies could be blamed.
In the past few years, an economic renaissance of sorts has taken place in the Golden State: A new (old) governor, career Democratic politician Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown and the Democrat-controlled legislature imposed a raft of new taxes and fee hikes that, thanks to the companies of millionaire and billionaire superstars and tech industry giants, the state managed to collect.
That additional new revenue, along with the presence of so much agricultural and technology wealth, has enabled California to avoid debt collectors for the time being. However, ballooning debt from overly generous public pensions (Democrats and their left-leaning unions love to pay themselves using the taxpayer's money) in and of itself could wipe out any gains.
Now, the California Senate has once again voted to explode the state's budget. In recent days, members of the upper chamber voted overwhelmingly to begin providing health coverage to children in the country illegally, while seeking federal permission to sell private insurance to illegal immigrants. If the measure becomes law, California would become the first state to do this.
As reported by The Associated Press:
Senators approved a bill that would allow between 195,000 and 240,000 children under 19 from low-income families to qualify for state-funded Medi-Cal, regardless of their legal status. It also would seek a federal waiver for California to sell unsubsidized private health insurance through the state's health exchange, known as Covered California.
If passed and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, limited enrollment for low-income immigrant adults 19 and older into Medi-Cal would be allowed depending on how much funding lawmakers approve in next year's budget.
High poverty, high taxes – and now, higher healthcare costs
Keep in mind that the Medi-Cal system already under-compensates physicians (like federal Medicare and Medicaid programs), and many feel as though it is already a broken system.
But no matter: Now, California's ever-generous lawmakers want to place more burdens on a healthcare compensation system that compensates doctors at a far cheaper rate than it costs to take your dog to a vet.
Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, hailed his bill as some great historic thing that is supposed to be the end-all, be-all of healthcare service provision for illegals.
"Ensuring that every child in California grows up healthy with an opportunity to thrive and succeed is simply the right thing to do," he said in presenting his bill. "It is what we are about in California."
There were a couple of voices of reason, but not many. A few Republicans tried to warn against putting more costs on an already over-burdened Medi-Cal system, especially at a time when fewer California doctors are taking Medi-Cal patients (because of the lousy compensation rate – and the compensation rate is lousy, because the program covers more people than funding really allows for).
GOP Sen. Janet Nguyen from Garden Grove would not even vote at all, saying that the proposal amounted to an empty promise.
"Make sure that we don't promise someone a car if there's no engine in it," Nguyen said.
Californians should have seen the move coming. The state's majority Democrats have been salivating at a chance to throw more taxpayer-funded benefits at illegal immigrants ever since President Obama issued an executive order he repeatedly said he had no power to issue slowing their deportation processes. Under Obama's rule, those who broke U.S. immigration laws to enter the country illegally cannot qualify for federal health benefits (yet), so California lawmakers thought it would be best if state taxpayers paid for them.
But a cost analysis of the new measure notes that anywhere from $85 million to $135 million more will be added to the cost of the Medi-Cal program, and while that might not seem like much money to a state with a $2.2 trillion annual GDP, understand that California is out of room, financially, and is some $262 billion in debt as it is. There is no more room to add new costs.
And yet, it's likely this measure will pass, Brown will sign it, and Californians who already live in the state with the country's highest poverty rate will simply have to pay more to accommodate the children of people who aren't even supposed to be there.
Isn't this one way to define insanity?
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