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Executive Immigration Order Also Good News on Healthcare Front in California

Posted by Anulkah Thomas, Health Coverage Policy Analyst on February 25th, 2015
Photo Credit flickr user Ray_from_LA (CC BY 2.0)

President Obama’s November 2014 executive order on immigration could have a profound impact on many Angelenos’ immigration status and ability to access health coverage. While federal dollars can only be used to cover restricted Medicaid coverage for undocumented immigrants--such as for emergencies and pregnancy--California opts to use state funds to provide full-scope benefits to people the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services know are present but are not moving to deport – also known as persons Permanently Residing Under the Color of Law (PRUCOL).  

Starting in May 2015, undocumented immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents that have resided in the U.S. for the last five years can submit applications for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and will thus fall in the PRUCOL category. According to estimates released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), about a third of the 979,000 unauthorized immigrants residing in Los Angeles County have citizen or LPR children.  While it is unknown how many DAPA eligible parents will ultimately obtain deferred action status and enroll in Medi-Cal, it is clear that the potential gains in coverage for this population could be substantial as those with incomes up to and including 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits. However, health advocates are concerned that the cost of covering an expanded PRUCOL population was not included in Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015-16 budget proposal released in January.  CHC will monitor state budget negotiations and advocate to ensure that all of California’s residents get the health benefits for which they qualify.

For more information, please contact Community Health Councils’ Policy Analyst, Anulkah Thomas at anulkah@chc-inc.org.