January 04, 2024
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  • ICYMI: Newsom Extends Free Healthcare to 700,000 Illegal Immigrants Despite Record Budget Deficit

    On Monday, California became the first state to expand Medicaid to include all illegal immigrants residing in the state, flooding the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, with as many as 700,000 illegal immigrants despite a record $68 billion state budget deficit.

    California is already facing a significant provider access crisis, with vulnerable Medi-Cal beneficiaries facing lengthy wait times for medically necessary care. According to the California Senate Republican Fiscal Office, the influx of illegal immigrants onto the safety net program, many of whom are able-bodied adults without dependents, will exacerbate this crisis and recklessly endanger access to health care for vulnerable Americans residing in California. 

    California’s radical move comes as the illegal immigration crisis fueled by President Biden’s open border policies continues to worsen, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reporting 308,728 encounters nationwide in November 2023, the worst November ever recorded by CBP. California’s open-ended offer to offer government funded health care to illegal immigrants provides another incentive for illegal entry into the United States, further  exacerbating the crisis at the southern border. 

    The Washington Examiner recently released an article, highlighting concerns that the expansion will further strain California's Medicaid program and endanger access to quality health care for vulnerable Americans.

    Word on the Street Via The Washington Examiner:

    • “The expansion is expected to cost the state roughly $1.2 billion for the first six months, before increasing to around $3.1 billion per year, according to estimates released last year. It will include undocumented immigrants between the ages of 26 and 49...”
    • “Critics, including California Republicans, have attacked the Medi-Cal expansion as fiscally irresponsible, especially when the state is already staring down a $68 billion budget deficit.”
    • “The California Senate Republican Caucus blasted the plan in a 2022-2023 analysis of Newsom’s budget plan, noting that the more than 700,000 illegal immigrants expected to be covered by the expansion will “certainly exacerbate current provider access programs.”
    • “Regardless of what your position is on this, it doesn’t make sense for us to be adding to our deficit,” California Republican Sen. Roger Niello, the vice-chairman of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, told the Associated Press.”

    The Bottom Line:

    Enrollment in the Medicaid program has skyrocketed to the point that the program covered one in four Americans in 2022. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in 2022, federal spending on Medicaid was $592 billion, a shocking 45% increase from 2019 spending levels and a 123% increase from 2013 spending levels of $265 billion. By 2033, federal spending on Medicaid will reach a staggering $879 billion. This runaway growth in Medicaid spending is one of the key drivers of our nation’s out of control deficits and mounting national debt.

    Increased enrollment in Medicaid, largely from able-bodied adults as a result of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, is significantly increasing federal and state spending. Additionally, it is leading to dangerous shortcomings in Medicaid enrollees’ ability to access health care by crowding out resources for the most vulnerable populations, such as impoverished and disabled children. 

    California Governor Newsom’s expansion of Medi-Cal to include ALL illegal immigrants will further exacerbate the issues facing the program by further shifting resources away from the state’s most vulnerable populations. Instead of working to improve the Medi-Cal program for current California enrollees, such as addressing longstanding access issues from low provider reimbursement rates set by the State, Newsom elected to further expand an already strained program for those here illegally. 

    More concerning, the Biden Administration has proposed to change – without Congressional approval – the ability for individuals in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to enroll in federal health care programs, such as Medicaid and the Obamacare exchanges. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this will cost U.S. taxpayers over $7 billion over 10 years, further adding to annual deficits and the mounting national debt. 

    The House Budget Committees Fiscal Year 2024 “Reverse the Curse” Budget Resolution included reforms to put Medicaid on a sustainable path through common sense policies that protect the vital program for Americans who need it most.