California Assemblyman Introduces Bill to End All Taxpayer Funding of Healthcare for Illegal Immigrants

California is the only state in the country to fund health care for illegal immigrants

Assemblyman Bill Essayli. (Photo: ad63.asmrc.org)


As the Globe recently reported, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s final expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal went into effect Monday, January 1, 2024, making more than 700,000 illegal immigrants residents between ages 26 and 49 eligible for full health care coverage – at a very precarious time with his $68 billion budget deficit.

If Gavin Newsom and the state’s Democrats – who surely flunked basic math – are trying to bankrupt the state, they are going about it correctly. This latest expansion of Medi-Cal will cost  $2.6 billion annually on top of the $330 billion budget.

And notably, California is the only state in the country to fund health care for illegal immigrants.

Wednesday, the Globe learned that a bill was introduced by Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) to end all taxpayer funding for health care for illegal immigrants – those in the state illegally.

However, few other Republicans were willing to sign on to his bill as co-authors. The Globe contacted several Republican Assembly offices to ask if the member would co-author.

Thus far, we heard Assemblywoman Kate Sanchez will co-author the bill. And we spoke to Assemblyman Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin), who said:

When California is facing a multi-billion deficit that will likely result in cuts to schools and other vital programs, we absolutely should not be creating new programs to fund Medi-Cal for people who came here illegally. As a member of the budget committee, I will be fighting to eliminate this new program. I look forward to Assemblyman Essayli drafting the statutory language for the bill for our consideration.

The bill says:

The expansion of universal health care to illegal immigrants is estimated to cost California taxpayers $4,000,000,000.

California began 2024 with a $68 billion budget deficit.

In 2024, Covered California premiums (California’s Obamacare) increased 9.6%; the Public Employees Retirement System increased premiums by 10.77%, and other health insurance providers notified policy holders of even higher rate increases.

Inflation continues to burden Californians with prices 19 % higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Assemblyman Essayli announced this Wednesday evening:

I just introduced AB 1783 to revoke all taxpayer funding for health care for illegal immigrants in the California State Budget.

It is unconscionable to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to give universal healthcare to illegal immigrants when our own citizens cannot afford their own healthcare on top of historic inflation and the highest cost of living in the nation.

The state budget has a $68 billion deficit, insurance premiums are going up across the board, and consumer prices remain 19% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Law-abiding immigrants like my parents are part of the great fabric of our state and nation. We cannot incentivize illegal immigration with free healthcare. We must take care of our own citizens before trying to care for the citizens of other nations.

Important to remember, as the Globe reported, in October, Gov. Newsom signed SB 770 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) “to force all Californians out of their existing health coverage – including Medicare, employer-based coverage and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) plans – and into a new untested government-run system, with no ability to opt out or choose private coverage instead,” the Globe reported.

SB 770 braces California for universal healthcare – most notably – as a single-payer system that leftists have been agitating for on their march toward fully socialized, government-run health care.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Kaiser Permanente and Unions Reach Tentative Agreement One Week After Strike

Kaiser Permanente and a coalition of unions representing roughly a third of its workforce have reached a tentative contract agreement, a week after tens of thousands of workers walked off the job in protest.

The tentative deal, announced Friday morning on social media,was struck amid escalating pressure from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which represents more than 85,000 workers at Kaiser hospitals and clinics across the country.

Both Kaiser Permanente, which is based in Oakland, and SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, the biggest member of the coalition, said they were excited to have reached an agreement and thanked Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su for her involvement.

“Su was instrumental in advancing talks and helping to facilitate a successful conclusion to these negotiations,” said Sarah Levesque, secretary-treasurer of OPEIU Local 2, another union in the coalition whose members include Kaiser optometrists and pharmacists.

The tentative agreement includes a 21% increase in wages over four years, which labor leaders said would improve employee retention;phasing in a $25-per-hour minimum wage for coalition workers in California and a $23-per-hour minimum in other states; “protective terms” with regard to outsourcing; and initiatives to improve staffing issues, including streamlining hiring practices, according to statements released Friday by the coalitionand by Kaiser.

Last week, more than 75,000 Kaiser employees went on strike in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, D.C., in what labor leaders described as the biggest strike by healthcare workers in U.S. history. In most states, the strike lasted three days; in some areas it was a single day.

Among the wide range of workers who went on strike were licensed vocational nurses, X-ray technicians, surgical technicians, phlebotomists, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians and respiratory therapists, as well as support staff such as housekeepers and food service workers.

Workers said they were protesting “bad faith bargaining” by Kaiser executives as the unions negotiated over wages and other issues that labor leaders faulted for a chronic staffing crisis that strained employees and jeopardized patient care. Unions also said the raises Kaiser was offering wouldn’t keep up with the rising cost of living.

Kaiser leaders said they were trying to reach an agreement in good faith and argued that the organization had been working to address the effects of a national crunch on healthcare staffing, successfully hitting a target to hire 10,000 new employees represented by the coalition.

Days after the initial strike ended, the unions warned that another, even bigger strike could be in the works from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8, after a union contract covering workers in the Seattle area expires.

The tentative deal, if ratified, is expected to avert that action, and Kaiser said the unions had withdrawn notices for the November strike.Workers plan to start voting on Oct. 18, the coalition said Friday.The agreement would last four years and be retroactive to Oct. 1.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

New California Law Takes a Step Toward Single-Payer Healthcare

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Saturday that sets the stage for California to work toward universal healthcare, such as a single-payer system that progressive activists have sought for years.

The law could help California obtain a waiver that would allocate federal Medicaid and Medicare funds to be used for what could eventually become a single-payer system that would cover every California resident and be financed entirely by state and federal funds.

California’s health secretary will have to offer recommendations on crafting the federal waiver by June 1, 2024, under Senate Bill 770.

“With this signature, California takes a historic step toward universal healthcare,”said a statement from the bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). “The state will now begin answering the complex question of how we can access federal financing to fund a universal healthcare system like single-payer.”

For decades, Californians have tried and failed and tried again — just about 10 times — to overhaul the state’s healthcare system. But attempts at a sweeping overhaul have been stymied by enormous costs, legal and bureaucratic hurdles and disagreement among groups within the healthcare industry.

Wiener’s legislation represents an incremental approach that will kick-start the process of solving one piece of a complicated puzzle, rather than attempting a massive revamp of the healthcare system.

Supporters of a single-payer model find fault with the existing healthcare system that leaves many patients paying astronomical co-pays and some haunted by fear of the debt they will accrue from medical procedures.

While the bill had support from many healthcare reform advocates, it faced opposition from both ends of the political spectrum. Critics on the left said it doesn’t go far enough in moving California toward single-payer healthcare, while critics on the right said it represents an ultimate goal of abolishing private health insurance and increasing taxes.

The California Nurses Assn., which has advocated for single-payer healthcare for decades, opposed the measure, contending that the work the bill asks the California Health and Human Services Agency to do has already been done.

Carmen Comsti, a lead regulatory policy specialist for the nurses union, said the bill would be an “unnecessary” waste of state resources.

Michael Lighty, president of Healthy California Now, the sponsor of Wiener’s bill, countered that the legislation promises a universal system, which could include a single-payer system.

“What we made clear is there is no preordained outcome,” Lighty said.

Cindy Young, a board member of the California Alliance for Retired Americans who supports Wiener’s bill, stressed that time is of the essence, particularly for California’s aging population.

“There are things seniors can’t get or it’s eating up our pension money to be able to pay for those things,” said Young, 68. “Long-term care is an absolute necessity. What’s going to happen to us if we can’t take care of ourselves?”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

23,000 Kaiser Workers in Southern California Prepare for 3-Day Strike

The two sides have until 6 a.m. Wednesday to forge a contract before the walkout begins

More than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers, including 23,000 in Southern California, are poised to launch the biggest healthcare worker strike in U.S. history beginning Wednesday, Oct. 4 if the two sides fail to reach a labor agreement.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and the healthcare giant have until 6 a.m. Wednesday to forge an 11th-hour contract before a three-day walkout begins.

The contracts for thousands of employees ranging from nurses to ER techs, respiratory therapists, dietary workers and home health aides expired Saturday, Sept. 30. A walkout will affect scores of Kaiser hospitals and facilities in California, including 23 facilities in Southern California, in addition to Colorado, Oregon and southwest Washington.

Also see: What to know if you’re a Kaiser member

Kaiser, which serves 9.4 million members in California, said it will keep all hospitals and emergency departments open. It operates three dozen hospitals and more than 500 medical offices in the state.

“Our facilities will continue to be staffed by our physicians, trained and experienced managers, and staff,” Kaiser said, adding that it could bring on “professionals contracted to serve in critical care roles specifically for the duration of a strike.”

Replacement workers began filtering into San Diego-area hotels this week. Kaiser employees told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the healthcare provider ordered a temporary workforce of about 10,000. Kaiser has 60,000 union employees in the state.

In an email to members, the healthcare provider acknowledged it may need to reschedule some non-urgent appointments and procedures.

“We’ll contact you in advance if your appointment needs to be rescheduled,” Kaiser wrote. “It’s possible that you could experience longer wait and hold times during a strike. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.”

Other labor news: $20 minimum wage coming to California fast food workers

The key sticking points in the negotiations have been staffing and wages with the coalition seeking a 25% raise over four years and a $25-per-hour minimum wage for all workers across the U.S. Kaiser in earlier negotiations offered 13%-16% raises over four years depending on the state and a $23 minimum wage for California workers.

The coalition also alleges Kaiser is behind unfair labor practices and unsafe staffing levels, all of which have undermined patient care.

Hollywood update: Late-night TV shows plan their returns after Hollywood writers strike ends

“I see my patients’ frustrations when I have to rush them and hurry on to my next patient,” said Jessica Cruz, a licensed vocational nurse at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center. “We’re burning ourselves out trying to do the jobs of two or three people, and our patients suffer.”

Employees are prepared to picket hospitals and other facilities in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Baldwin Park, Moreno Valley, Antelope Valley and the South Bay, among other Southern California locations.

Angelica Mateo, a Kaiser licensed vocational nurse in Pasadena, said she’s ready to walk out.

“Everyone is pumped up,” the 37-year-old West Covina resident said. “No one wants to go on strike, but if this is the only way we can make Kaiser executives listen to us, we’ll do what we have to do. Our coalition represents a third of Kaiser’s workforce, so even a three-day strike will make a huge impact.”

In a statement issued Monday, Kaiser said its goal is to reach a “fair and equitable agreement” that strengthens Kaiser as a “best place to work,” while ensuring affordable and easy-to-access quality patient care.

“A strike is not inevitable, and it is certainly not justified,” management said.

Kaiser acknowledged things are tough in the healthcare industry.

“Healthcare is still under great stress,” the company said. “More than 5 million people have left their health care jobs and burnout is at record highs.”

Employees say they’re grappling with skeletal staffing.

In a recent “Crisis in Care” survey of 33,000 Kaiser employees by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, two-thirds said they’d seen care delayed or denied due to short staffing.

“We need to keep working together to get through this because the reality is that we are still in a health care crisis in this country,” Kaiser said. “Access to care is stretched thin and it will take time to recover as an industry and stabilize the US health care system.”

Kaiser isn’t the only healthcare business facing a strike.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

CA Senate Passes ‘Healthcare’ Clinics for K-12 Students, Along Party Lines

The state and school boards can actually facilitate abortions, vaccinations, and drug abuse treatment for children without parental consent

Sen. Ochoa Bough debating AB 1940. (Photo: screen capture sen.ga.gov)

California Democrats just passed a bill to fund healthcare clinics in the state’s K-12 public schools, against Republicans’ and the California Department of Finance’s objections. Included in the primary health care services are mental health services, “reproductive health services” (abortions, birth control), vaccinations, and drug abuse treatment. The clincher is that parental consent is not needed for any of these health services. In fact, according to bill analysis, “The Right to Life League said that this bill will ensure that state-funded chemical or surgical abortions can secretly and conveniently take place on school campuses, public or private, without parental involvement and without a doctor.”

The Department of Finance warned of the hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the School-Based Health Center Support Program (SBHCS Program).

The Senate had an intense debate Friday over AB 1940 by Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) to fund healthcare clinics within California public schools.

Senate Republicans were particularly concerned about these onsite health centers that don’t require parental involvement. Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Redlands) asked Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) about the ages of children served, and if the health clinics would be in elementary, middle and/or high schools. 

“The decisions are being made by schools and school districts,” Sen. Hurtado said. “It will be decided at the local level what services they provide to students.”

“Last year we passed a bill prohibiting health plans from informing parents medications children as young as 12 could receive,” Sen. Ochoa Bogh said. “We are now providing these services on campuses without parents, through their health plans, knowing what is being provided to their children.”

“We are opening a can of worms. Think very deeply about what that could mean,” Sen. Ochoa Bogh said. “That means that state, our school boards, can actually facilitate medical treatment for children with absolutely no knowledge or engagement from the parents. We are basically emancipating our children with their healthcare in the state of California. As a parent and future grandparent, I am extremely concerned about where we are going.”

 According to the California Family Council, the bill passed last year that Sen. Ochoa Bogh referred to is AB 1184 by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley), which requires insurance companies to hide from parents “sensitive” services including abortions, sexual assault, and mental health treatment that their children are receiving. Planned Parenthood sponsored that bill and would be one of the beneficiaries of this new bill, because they are advocating to set up health clinics within public schools.

“These on-site health care centers are to provide ‘comprehensive health care’ that is ‘age appropriate,” said Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield). “We all know that this legislative body has passed legislation that says appropriate age healthcare is 12-year-olds, for them to be taken off campus for an abortion without their parent’s knowledge.”

“This is why thousands of parents are taking their kids out of public schools, because it is turning into a health facility without our knowledge, and it is wrong,” Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Redding) said. “[Parents] do understand one thing, that this legislature is moving in a direction to take away the control of your child and letting somebody else administer their healthcare at school.”

“I have heard a lot of comments today about what people want and honestly what I want is for politicians to keep their nose out of our business and the business of our kids,” said Sen. Melissa Melendez (R-Murrieta). “It is not the government’s role to raise our children. It is not the government’s role to decide what healthcare is best for them. Parents need to be involved. Parents need to be the ultimate decision maker regarding these health decisions for their children.”

“What if your child is thinking about ‘self-harm or suicide,’” Melendez asked her Senate colleagues. “Wouldn’t you want to know that that is going on in your child’s life so that you could partner with the healthcare professionals to help your child? Would you appreciate it if you were cut out of the loop and didn’t even know was thinking that?”

“Government employees and politicians think they know what is best for kids,” Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Chico) said. “The blood bond of having a child, of raising a child is so superior than the abstract concept ‘we know what is best.’”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Universal Health Care Bill Fails To Pass In California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A bill that would have created the nation’s only government-funded universal health care system died in the California Assembly on Monday as Democrats could not gather enough support to bring it for a vote ahead of a legislative deadline.

The bill had to pass by midnight on Monday to have a chance at becoming law this year. Democrats needed 41 votes for that to happen, a threshold that did not seem impossible given that they control 56 of the 80 seats in the state Assembly and universal health care has long been a priority for the party.

But intense lobbying from business groups put pressure on more moderate Democrats, who face tough reelection campaigns this year in newly-redrawn districts. Plus, Democrats were missing four lawmakers from their caucus — including three of their more liberal members — who had resigned recently to take other jobs.

“Especially with four democratic vacancies in the Assembly, the votes were not there today, but we will not give up,” Assemblymember Ash Kalra, a Democrat from San Jose and the bill’s author, said in a news release.

Kalra’s decision not to bring the bill up for a vote incensed his allies in the California Nurses Association, who have been pushing for this bill for years — including campaigning heavily for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2018 election. While Kalra had authored the bill and gotten it out of two legislative committees to reach the Assembly floor, the Nurses Association said in a statement they were “outraged that Kalra chose to just give up on patients across the state.”

Progressives have dreamed about a universal health care system in the U.S. for decades. Health care is so expensive, they say, in part because the nation’s health care system is paid for by multiple parties, including patients, insurance companies, employers and the government. Instead, they say the U.S. health care system should have a single payer — the government — that would keep prices under control and make health care available to all.

But while other nations have adopted such systems, it’s been impossible to establish in the United States. Vermont enacted the nation’s first such system in 2011, but later abandoned it because it would have cost too much.

In California, voters overwhelmingly rejected a universal health care system in a 1994 ballot initiative. Former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed similar legislation in the 2000s. And a 2017 proposal stalled in the state Assembly.

The biggest hurdle is cost. A study of a 2017 proposal for universal health care in California estimated it would cost $331 billion, which is about $356 billion today when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, California is expected to account for about $517 billion in health care spending this year, with the largest chunk coming from employers and households, according to an analysis by a commission established by Gov. Gavin Newsom to study universal health care.

For comparison, California’s entire state operating budget — which pays for things like schools, courts, roads and bridges and other important services — is about $262 billion this year.

To pay for the plan, Democrats had introduced a separate bill that would impose hefty new income taxes on businesses and individuals, which fueled much of the opposition to the plan.

“Today’s vote in the Assembly was a vote to protect their constituents from higher taxes and chaos in our health care system,” said Ned Wigglesworth, spokesperson for Protect California Health Care, a coalition of health care providers opposed to the bill.

Supporters say consumers are already paying exorbitant amounts for health care, saying a single-payer system would save money by eliminating deductibles, copays and expensive monthly insurance premiums.

Click here to read the full article at AP News

State Democrats Again Try for Universal Healthcare

Calling the Democrats’ new universal healthcare legislation “bold” is an understatement. It would be a life-changer for practically every Californian.

It also would require by far the largest state tax increase in history.

Some powerful opponents will call it “socialist.” But aren’t Social Security and Medicare socialist? And they’re among the most popular government programs in America.

Some supporters are hailing it as a California version of federal “Medicare for all.” But reallyit’s Medicare for nobody. Californians on Medicare would be shifted into the new state-run “CalCare.”

No more Medicare in the nation’s most populous state. Nor Medi-Cal, the California version of Medicaid insurance for poor people. And private healthcare insurance would essentially be out of business. Everyone would be transferred into CalCare.

As advertised by CalCare proponents, most Californians would be better off under the new state plan: “No premiums, copays or deductibles … or other out-of-pocket costs.”

But more benefits: “Including all primary and preventative care, hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision, audiology [hearing aids], reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care, long-term services and … mental health and substance abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, ambulatory services and more.

“Patients will have freedom to choose doctors, hospitals and other providers … without worrying about whether a provider is ‘in-network.’ ”

Sounds like a late-night TV commercial for wonder pills.

The assumption is that Sacramento can manage such a massive endeavor. There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical.

“I look forward to hearing Democrats explain how they plan to successfully take over more than 10% of the state’s economy when in the last decade they’ve proven themselves incapable of simple things like building a railroad, providing clean drinking water, keeping the lights on and filling potholes,” says Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron of Valley Center in San Diego County.

Even a major Democratic supporter, Assembly Health Committee Chairman Jim Wood of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, has similar concerns.

“When you look at California, especially with COVID, clearly you see things that are not working very well,” Wood told me.

“I’ve always been supportive of healthcare for everyone,” the dentist added. “But I have serious and legitimate concerns about how an entity like this would be governed. I just worry whether we have the capacity to manage this.”

Wood cited as a glaring example of mismanagement the state Employment Development Department, which dished out several billion dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits early during the pandemic, including to people in prison.

But state government is a mixed bag, Wood continued. He praised Covered California, which operates an expanded version of the federal Affordable Care Act, as “a model for the country.”

He also called federal Medicare “a well-run system.”

“Doctors and hospitals don’t like Medicare because the rates are lower,” Wood said. “But recipients on Medicare like it.”

And California would be leaving it.

Wood is ready to chuck current private insurance.

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times