Proposed Calif. bill would expand access to health care for all
The Health For All Act --- proposed state legislation to expand access to health care coverage for all Californians, regardless of immigration status --- was unveiled Feb. 14 by its author, Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach) at a press conference.
A coalition of health, immigration, labor and community advocates who agree that immigration status should not impede an individuals’ ability to access or purchase health coverage joined Lara for the event at Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero in Boyle Heights. Also on hand were undocumented individuals who could be impacted by the legislation, SB 1005.
“California is stronger when everyone has access to quality, affordable health care,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “This includes undocumented Californians who are a fundamental part of our state and contribute tremendously to our economy. It’s time that we address this critical issue by ensuring that all Californians have access to preventative care and the opportunity to purchase coverage, irrespective of immigration status.”
Lara said that 1.3 million undocumented, uninsured residents would pay into a health planunder the provisions of the bill. “Excluding people from access to care hurts the overall health of our communities, and does not reflect California values,” he asserted.
The bill would address the needs of those in California ineligible for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, that allows only U. S. citizens to purchase policies through health exchanges (Covered California in this state) and receive federal assistance toward coverage.
Along the groups and agencies represented who support the legislation were Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Immigrant Policy Center, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Health Access California, California Pan-Ethnic health Network (CPEHN), Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County and SEIU California.