There is currently a bill making its way through the California State Senate that is proposing a variety of wide and sweeping reforms to immigration in the state of California. More specifically, this bill aims to improve the amount of benefits that illegal immigrants receive (especially health benefits and free health insurance) – and it is one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation in recent history.
According to proponents of the bill (State Senate Bill 4), more than 2.5 million people throughout California would be directly impacted by all of the immigration reform changes that it proposes – but every legal citizen of California would be touched by the bill because of the extreme price tag that it would carry across the board.
The bill currently sits before the state Senate and Assembly, and will require passage in both of those bodies before it reaches Gov. Jerry Brown’s office to be signed. All three of these governmental organizations and individuals will have to agree to approve the bill as is for it to be processed into law, and right now Republicans and Democrats are in the firm belief that it just won’t come to fruition.
The main “sticking point” for this particular bill is that it would allow all illegal immigrants in the State of California to apply for (and be immediately approved for) the Medi-Cal state health insurance program for the poor. And while from a moral standpoint this position is quite admirable, it will also cost Californian citizens nearly $1.3 billion each and every year – and growing – to make the reforms a reality, according to critics.
Because this bill is so hotly contested (a bill written by Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from the LA suburb of Bell Gardens) most do not anticipate it becoming a reality. Not only that, but a previous bill trying to achieve the exact same thing written and offered by Sen. Lara was shut down last year because it was projected to cost even more than this one.
A lot of this bill hinges upon the dramatic impact that Pres. Barack Obama’s executive order that delays and protects more than 5 million illegal immigrants from being deported and the natural fallout from that position. However, that executive order is currently jammed up in federal court, with no real end in sight.
Proponents of the bill believe that this will finally give illegal immigrants the opportunity to take advantage of healthcare in the state of California that they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. Currently, most of these illegal immigrants are pursuing healthcare made available for free clinics and even urgency problems, or simply go without – especially if they have grievous injuries or serious illnesses to contend with.
Many of the opponents of this particular bill the believe in the moral standpoint that it takes, but argue that they simply will not place this burden on the taxpayers of California at a point in time when the government coffers all already in such disarray. If the cost can be brought down, many of them have already committed to changing their mind and making this bill a reality. But not until then critics urge.