Calif. budget deal grants health coverage to children in U.S. illegally
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday announced a budget deal that extends public healthcare coverage to immigrant children who are in the country illegally.
The expansion of the state’s Medi-Cal program would begin in May 2016. It is expected to cost $40 million in the next budget and $132 million annually after that, Los Angeles Times reported.
Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), who pushed for broader healthcare coverage with Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), called the change a “historic accomplishment.”
The final budget deal includes general fund spending of $115.4 billion, which is $2.1 billion less than the $117.5-billion budget passed by the Legislature on Monday.
Brown was able to convince lawmakers to use his more conservative revenue estimates, but other modifications in the budget freed up some extra money that Democrats wanted for government services.
For example, the spending plan includes $265 million in state support to fund 7,000 additional preschool slots and 6,800 child care slots.
“This is the best budget we’ve seen in years,” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said at a Capitol news conference with the governor and De Leon.
Brown also called for two special sessions to address much-needed repairs to California roads and highways, and also to provide more sustainable funding to Medi-Cal. New taxes and fees could be on the table during the negotiations.
A final deal must still be approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor before it can take effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. Votes are expected to be held on Friday.