Alice Rainwater (C) get her blood pressure checked by licensed vocational nursing student Alisa Humphrey (R) as part of a free health care service at the Care Harbor clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on September 27, 2012 in Los Angeles.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Bay Area Residents Divided Over Extending Health Care to Undocumented Immigrants

Matt Bigler
June 10, 2019 - 12:00 am

A plan to have California taxpayers cover the health care costs of young adults in the country illegally is being met with mixed reactions in the Bay Area. 

Under the proposal, the state's Medi-Cal program would be extended to undocumented immigrants between the ages of 19-and-25 whose incomes are low enough to qualify.

Jessica White, 23, from Hayward is on Medi-Cal and thought it was a good idea.

"I mean they're young, they need Medi-Cal.  I can't imagine not haveing Medi-Cal and not being able to go to the hospital," said White. It was a huge relief not having to worry about unexpected medical expenses, she said. 

But some said the plan, which would cost the state an estimated $98-million, didn't seem fair. 

Monique Dorsey in San Leandro said she didn't have a problem with illegal immigrants getting work in California, but offering them free health insurance was too generous. 

"I mean if they're coming over here to better themselves that's fine, but me as a taxpayer paying for their medical...I don't think so," said Dorsey, who said it was hard enough paying her own medical costs. 

The program, which could affect an estimated 90,000 young people, is part of a budget deal expected to pass the legislature this week and would go into effect next January.  If approved, California would be the first state to extend health coverage to some undocumented immigrants.