As of May 4, 2015, Senator Lara’s bill (SB 4) to expand insurance to undocumented Californians has been placed on hold. This decision comes in the wake of a fiscal analysis of SB 4. According to a Senate analyst, estimated coverage costs for undocumented individuals range from $280 million to $740 million annually. California’s Medicaid program has expanded greatly in response to full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, if SB 4 were to become signed in to law, the state would need to substantially increase its financial commitment to the Medi-Cal program.
Also, pending court decision on President Obama’s executive initiative to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and create the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, has the potential to impact Medi-Cal dollars. California has taken the unique position to offer Medi-Cal eligibility to individuals with DACA status that meet income requirements. If President Obama’s executive order were granted, the State would be on the hook financially. Consequently, cost continues to be a hurdle for the legislation.
SB 4 is Senator Lara’s second attempt to extend coverage for undocumented individuals, and just like its successor, there were funding concerns. While the cost of coverage for the undocumented remains a hurdle, ITUP encourages stakeholder to work towards a consensus that could provide truly universal coverage.