Undocumented immigrant healthcare extension could cost California $740m

money1A fiscal analysis by the California Senate reveals that extending healthcare coverage subsidized by the state to undocumented immigrants could cost California up to $740m. The analysis marks the first time that a real figure has been linked to Democratic senator Ricardo Lara’s proposed bill, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Two different scenarios were used to calculate the cost of the bill by the Senate, the Times claims. Under the first scenario spending for Medi-Cal would increase to $740m from the current figure of $280m, with up to 60% of eligible undocumented immigrants enrolling in the program. The second scenario takes into consideration President Obama’s executive order on immigration reform, which would spare millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The Times says this would enable a further 900,000 immigrants to qualify for a number of state programs, including Medi-Cal.

UCLA and UC Berkeley found that around 1.8 million undocumented immigrants in California have no healthcare coverage and that almost 1.5 million of these would be eligible for the subsidized health care plan.

Lara states that the Senate’s analysis is a reflection of “our ongoing efforts to develop a realistic, cost-effective solution in our pursuit of expanding healthcare for all Californians, regardless of healthcare status”. The bill is on hold until the end of May, the San Jose Mercury News reports, at which point it will either be shelved or sent to the full Senate to be voted on.