Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens has unveiled the Health For All Act, which is aimed at expanding access to health care coverage for all Californians, regardless of immigration status.
“Health care for everyone should mean everyone,” Lara said at a news
conference last week in Los Angeles. “… This includes undocumented Californians who are a fundamental part of our state and contribute tremendously to our economy.”
SB 1005 would allow those who are denied coverage because of their immigration status to purchase a health plan under the Create the California Health Benefit Exchange Program for All Californians, which would be set up under the legislation, according to Lara. Also, it would qualify for healthcare coverage those who are ineligible for Medi-Cal, he said.
The program would be run by Covered California, which is administering the Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare within the state.
“Without access to affordable, quality health insurance, people are forced to rely on emergency care,” Lara said, “which means they delay treatment until they are sicker and treatment is much more expensive.”
Despite the Affordable Care Act, three million to four million people in California remain uninsured, with a million undocumented residents ineligible for coverage, Lara said.
Supporters of Lara’s bill include the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, California Immigrant Policy Center, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Health Access California, California Pan-Ethnic health Network, Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County and SEIU California.