SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — By some predictions, there are about 4 million undocumented immigrants in California without health insurance. This week, state lawmakers will consider whether taxpayers should foot the bill.
Healthcare providers, students and supporters marched to the state Capitol supporting Senate Bill 4, dubbed the Health For All Act.
Supporters of the act say no health insurance for undocumented immigrants is already costing taxpayers too much.
Under the bill, low-income immigrant families would be able to get regular medical care through the state’s Medi-Cal program.
“They can’t get regular checkups. They sometimes have to wait until it’s so critical that they have to go to the emergency room,” said Carolina Gamero, a spokesperson for the California Immigrant Policy Center.
The bill would also allow undocumented immigrants, whose incomes are above the Medi-Cal eligibility limit, to purchase insurance through Covered California.
San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo is the celebrity pitch man for the bill. Many hope his star power can soften the hearts of Californians.
“No matter who you are or you were born, healthcare is a basic human right,” he says in a recent commercial.
But Scott Perry, who’s against the bill, says he shouldn’t be required to buy medical insurance for others.
“I wouldn’t want to pay for their medical insurance, since I don’t have any of my own,” said Perry. “I don’t think I should get a special tax to pay for somebody else’s inability to pay for their own stuff.”
California Republicans are also showing opposition. Senate Republican leader Bob Huff was quoted in the Los Angeles Daily News saying, “without money from congress and President Obama, it will be very difficult and costly for California taxpayers to fund all of these bill proposals.”
“It’s a modest investment that yields very big returns,” said Gamero.
But marchers believe taxpayers are already paying too much.
“And this is an issue for all of California to consider because it’s so costly for us to take care of an issue when it’s gone to a critical point when it has reached emergency care services,” she said.
The Health for All Act heads to the senate’s health committee this Wednesday for debate.