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Will the expanded California health care access affect immigration cases?

Posted by Bulldog Law | Apr 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

A law enacted in California in 2024 expanded the state's health insurance program to cover low-income adults no matter their immigration status. Better known as Medi-Cal, it is expected to offer free health care to over 700,000 undocumented immigrants.

As the state's immigrants welcomed the new law, some of them raised concerns about how availing Medi-Cal benefits may impact their chances of gaining permanent residency or citizenship. But should you really worry about the Medi-Cal expansion?

All about the expanded Medi-Cal

Undocumented immigrants already have access to Medi-Cal, but only for children and those aged above 50. Since January 1, 2024, those aged 26 to 49 can apply for full Medi-Cal access if they meet the Department of Health Care's income guidelines. Benefits include transportation to medical visits, substance abuse treatments, and medical, vision, mental health and dental services.

Is a Medi-Cal recipient a public charge?

A public charge depends on the government for living expenses like food, clothing and shelter. When an undocumented immigrant becomes a public charge, they are not eligible anymore to get a visa. Undocumented immigrants can be rest assured that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security doesn't consider Medi-Cal as a reason for public charge.

Privacy security when availing Medi-Cal

Another concern for undocumented immigrants is if immigration officials will be able to access their Medi-Cal personal information. This won't be possible because of the Sanctuary State law that enhanced immigrant protection in California in 2018. The law prohibits state and federal law enforcement officials from cooperating when they implement immigration laws.

Health care for all

As California continues to work towards providing universal health care, its undocumented immigrants need not worry about public charge and privacy security when applying for Medi-Cal. Should you encounter an issue due to Medi-Cal eligibility, public charge or privacy security with immigration authorities, keep in mind that there are legal ways to protect your rights as an immigrant and an attorney can explain all of these options to you.

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