SB 1005, State Senator Ricardo Lara’s “Health for All” bill that would provide full scope Medi-Cal to the undocumented and create a shadow Exchange with premium assistance provided by the State, was recently approved 6-1 by the Senate Committee on Health. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Committee, where the cost of providing coverage to those not legally president will be scrutinized, particularly as federal funds are not available to provide coverage to this population.
Lara and proponents argue that these measures are necessary because undocumented immigrants are left out of the ACA provisions and cannot currently participate in Covered California or Medi-Cal, although coverage for emergencies and pregnancies is available through restricted-scope Medi-Cal. Under the bill, the shadow Exchange would operated essentially identically to Covered California, with the same board members, plan offerings, and financial assistance, but it would only serve undocumented individuals and would be at full cost to the State. While the bill has received wide support from health and immigration advocates, it faces challenges in funding. It is unclear what the bill’s provisions would cost, but an estimate is reportedly in the works.