Senator Lara Introduces Health for All Act

February 14, 2014

Coalition of Health, Labor and Immigrant Advocates Support Bill to Expand Health Access to California’s Remaining Uninsured

SACRAMENTO —Joined by a broad and diverse statewide coalition of health, immigrant and community advocates, Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach) today introduced Senate Bill 1005, the Health For All Act, which will expand access to health care coverage for all Californians, irrespective of immigration status.

“The purpose of the Health For All Act is simple – provide health care coverage to California’s remaining uninsured by expanding Medi-Cal and creating a new health exchange where the undocumented can purchase coverage,” said Lara. “While we’ve made enormous strides to reduce California’s uninsured population with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we won’t have a truly healthy state until everyone has access to quality, affordable coverage.”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) specifically excluded undocumented immigrants from insurance coverage provided through the health care exchange known as Covered California in the Golden State.  An estimated three to four million people in the state will remain uninsured in spite of ACA, and almost a million of those will be undocumented residents ineligible for coverage.  Access to preventive care keeps people healthier by providing regular check-ups and screenings, and early diagnosis of health problems ensures those problems can be treated before they become overly expensive.  By ensuring everyone has access to health care, we can improve the health of our entire community, limit the overcrowding of emergency rooms, and reduce the costs of healthcare in California.

“Excluding people from access to care hurts the overall health of our communities, and does not reflect California values,” said Lara.

Undocumented Californians are a vital part of the state’s population and economy. Of the estimated 2.3 million undocumented in California, some one million are without coverage. The estimated annual tax contributions of undocumented immigrants in California is $2.7 billion and 92% of this population live in working families.

The Health For All Act will:

  • Extend eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits to low-income undocumented California immigrants who would qualify for the assistance but for their immigration status.

  • Create the California Health Benefit Exchange Program for All Californians, which would be run by officials at Covered California.

A statewide coalition of advocates who agree that immigration status shouldn’t bar individuals from accessing or purchasing quality, affordable health coverage joined Senator Lara in introducing the Health For All Act, including: Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Immigrant Policy Center, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Health Access California, California Pan-Ethnic health Network (CPEHN), Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, SEIU California, California Primary Care Association and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.

Media Contact: Jesse Melgar/ Jesse.Melgar@sen.ca.gov

Senator Ricardo Lara was elected in 2012 to represent the 33rd Senate District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, South Los Angeles, Vernon, and Walnut Park. For more information please visit this link: http://www.senate.ca.gov/lara.

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