California has withdrawn its request to the federal government for permission to allow undocumented people to obtain health insurance from the state exchange, with a lawmaker linking the decision to concerns about the incoming Trump administration.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, called the action “the first California casualty of the Trump presidency.” Lara, who carried the bill seeking the change and requested Wednesday’s move, said in a statement that he doesn’t “trust the Trump administration to do what’s best for California and to implement the waiver in a way that protects people’s privacy and health.”
“I take Trump at his words that anyone is subject to deportation at any time,” Lara added, “and California will not be part of a wasteful and inhumane campaign against immigrants who are working hard and playing by the rules.”
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, undocumented immigrants are not eligible to buy policies from health exchanges. Senate Bill 10, approved last summer, aimed to help families with mixed immigration status obtain health insurance through Covered California, but the state first needed federal permission.
The waiver request wasn’t deemed complete until Tuesday, starting a 30-day public review period. Covered California executive director Peter Lee told the federal government Wednesday that the state was pulling its waiver application at Lara’s request, with Gov. Jerry Brown in agreement.
President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office Friday.