Sorry, as assholish as this might sound to some, I do not want $500 million worth of health care benefits in California going children who are here illegally. That may seem cold, but I'm trying to be as rational as possible in my stance against illegal immigration, and remaining consistent is a large part of that. Enough unsanctioned funds are diverted to illegal aliens in this country, and especially in this state. I don't think we should be working to provide sanctioned monetary rewards to people who are breaking the law.
Besides, there are millions of children in this country whose legal status is not in question, and who are also not insured. I think it would be prudent to focus on them first.
By Ed Mendel
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERJune 20, 2006
SACRAMENTO Moving to ease a state budget deadlock, Democratic legislative leaders are dropping their push for a $300 million expansion of a health care program that would include illegal immigrant children.
Democrats are willing to settle for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to provide $23 million for children's health care programs operated by 18 counties, enough to serve an estimated 24,000 additional children.
But the Republican governor's proposal still faces opposition from legislators in his own party because his plan would provide government funds for programs that serve illegal immigrants.
Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland, told the Sacramento Press Club yesterday that Democrats took the big expansion off the table because we do not want the budget to get hung up on that particular point.
Instead, Perata said Democrats will push a major expansion of children's health care in a separate bill, which is likely to be vetoed by Schwarzenegger if it passes the Legislature.
Schwarzenegger said last week that although he thinks illegal immigrant children should have the right to schooling and health care, he opposes the Democratic plan because it costs too much and the state still has a deficit.
The Democratic plan would make more children eligible for the Healthy Families program that provides health care for children in families that earn too much to qualify for the Medi-Cal program for the poor, but not enough to buy health insurance.
More than 780,000 California children are enrolled in Healthy Families, but an estimated 225,000 are eligible although not enrolled. Schwarzenegger said he wants to increase enrollment before expanding eligibility.
The Democratic plan would remove the current Healthy Families prohibition against serving illegal immigrants and increase the eligibility income limit, now 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
The Healthy Families expansion proposed by Democrats would not actually begin until July 2007. The Democratic budget for the new fiscal year beginning on July 1 only had $1.8 million to begin planning the Healthy Families expansion, with the bulk of the spending phased in in subsequent years.
In addition, the Healthy Families expansion would have become inoperative if voters approve an initiative, expected to be on the November ballot, that would raise the tobacco tax to fund a number of health programs.
Perata said he would be pretty surprised if the initiative, which would accomplish most of the goals of the Democratic proposal to expand Healthy Families, is not approved by voters.
Schwarzenegger proposed $23 million for the 18 county children's health programs to cover applicants on waiting lists who can not be served because of a lack of funds. San Diego does not have such a program.
The county programs, funded by a variety of public and private sources, do not exclude the children of illegal immigrants. Republicans, who must provide a handful of votes to pass a budget, oppose giving the programs state money.
Illegal immigration is such a hot-button issue, said Assembly Republican leader George Plescia of La Jolla. I just don't think there are any Republican votes if that is in there.
As the Palaces Burn
By Lamb of God
Release date: By 06 May, 2003