As of January 1st, California is the first state to offer health insurance to all illegal immigrants, regardless of age. Further, the coverage that the state is offering raises profound ethical, financial, and health concerns.
Previously, illegal immigrants were ineligible for full health insurance coverage but could access emergency and pregnancy-related services through Medi-Cal, provided they met certain criteria like income thresholds and residency in California as of 2014. In 2015, a bill signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown enabled undocumented children to enroll in Medi-Cal. Later, in 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom expanded Medi-Cal to include full coverage for young adults aged 19 to 25, irrespective of their citizenship or immigration status. This coverage was further extended to include adults over 50 years old.
The latest expansion, which is now in effect, will render an estimated 700,000 undocumented residents ages 26 to 49 eligible for full Medi-Cal coverage.
Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones denounced the decision, citing the financial burden it will cause to taxpaying Californians. “It will cost the state over $6.5 billion annually to provide Medi-Cal to all undocumented immigrants, according to the most recent analysis by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office,” he told ABC News in a statement. “Given the fact that over 300,000 undocumented migrants have crossed into California at the Mexico border in 2023 alone, the costs for this program are only going to increase from here. If Democrat politicians are the responsible leaders they claim to be, they should work with Republicans to freeze the Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented immigrants while we balance the budget.”
While using the tax dollars of law-abiding Californians to pay for the healthcare of illegal immigrants is already deeply concerning, an even greater issue lies in the kinds of so-called medical “care” these insurance plans cover.
According to a state memo from May 2022, Medi-Cal provides coverage for hormone therapy and surgical procedures “that bring primary and secondary gender characteristics into conformity with the individual’s identified gender, including ancillary services, such as hair removal, incident to those services.” The memo goes on to say that “Gender affirming care is a covered Medi-Cal benefit when medically necessary.”
Cross-sex hormone therapy and bodily mutilation are not only never medically necessary, but they only cause irreversible damage. After surgery, patients can suffer from disfigurement, nerve damage, internal hair growth, infertility, and sexual dysfunction, among other side effects. Further, cross-sex hormones can cause “severe joint pain, osteoporosis, compromised immune systems, thrombosis, heart attack, stroke, and infertility,” reports the Federalist.
Ultimately, no Californian—especially those who are living in California illegally—should be offered these dangerous procedures disguised as “health care” as a treatment for gender confusion and on the tax-payer’s dime. Forcing law-abiding citizens to pay for such procedures is abhorrent and unjust.
Californians should keep this in mind as we approach a critical election cycle later this year. Voters have the power to change the trajectory of the state through the ballot box.