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Ca. senator proposes extending government health care to illegal immigrants

Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara
Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara
Courtesy of LA Times

Who else but a Democrat and where else but in California would a lawmaker have the absolute chutzpah to suggest that the Affordable Care Act (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) be extended to cover people in the country illegally?

Cal Coast News reports that Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara said he plans to introduce a bill in the state legislature that would provide Obamacare-type health insurance to illegal immigrants. Lara said that immigration status should be irrelevant if the goal of the federal law is to provide coverage for the uninsured.

Immigration status shouldn’t bar individuals from health coverage, especially since their taxes contribute to the growth of our economy.

But the fact of the matter is that not all illegal immigrants pay taxes. According to a report by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, illegals earning income in California, Lara’s state, are delinquent to the tune of more than $327 million in state and local taxes alone.

The framework on which Lara and his backers would like to build their law already exists, in Covered California, the state exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. Currently, federal law prohibits individuals who enter the country illegally from obtaining coverage through the exchange.

Lara and his group are also open to alternatives, such as expanding Medi-Cal coverage.

A Republican assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate, Tim Donnelly, accused Lara of trading on the plight of people ineligible to receive health benefits:

California cannot afford to create another incentive to attract people to come to our state illegally in pursuit of taxpayer-subsidized benefits.

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