Senator Ricardo Lara Marks Successful First Anniversary of Healthcare Expansion to Undocumented Children

May 16, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) marked the one-year anniversary of the expansion of full Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrant children.

The passage of the Senate Bill 75 budget action created Health4All Kids, and Senate Bill 4 ensured a speedy transfer of children enrolled in partial scope coverage starting in May 2016.

Before the passage of Senate Bill 75, undocumented children were eligible for limited emergency care. Health4All Kids covers all children for medical, dental, vision and prescription drugs, and was a pivotal step toward universal healthcare made possible by the perseverance of a diverse coalition of Californians.

For the first time undocumented children have healthcare that covers more than just the emergency room,” said Sen. Lara. “California covers more undocumented children than any state, and we don’t discriminate because of where a child is born. Because of Health4All Kids we are closer to building a healthcare system that is inclusive, fair, and universal.”

California now covers 189,000 undocumented children, and Governor Brown’s 2017-18 budget plan increases funding for the program by $20 million.

“Californians should be proud that for over a year, every child in our state, on every playground and in every classroom, has the assurance of quality, affordable health care coverage,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a strong supporter of SB 75 and SB 4. “With not just the ACA expansions but now over 180,000 children enrolled who were previously ineligible, California’s classrooms are healthier, our families and communities are more financially secure, and our health system is stronger. We urge the Legislature to build on this momentum by taking concrete steps this year to further expand coverage toward a more inclusive health system. Our health system works best when everyone is included, regardless of immigration status.”

"The anniversary of Health4All Kids shows the success of setting young Californians on a path towards becoming stronger, better educated and more productive adults,” said Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center. “Our work cannot stop until everyone in California has access to adequate preventive and life-saving health care, regardless of immigration status. California's future depends on it."

Senator Lara spoke at an anniversary event at the State Capitol hosted by the Children’s Partnership, which provided an overview of state and local efforts and successful outreach strategies.