Capitol Alert

Donald Trump threatens to upend California’s health care plan for undocumented immigrants

President Donald Trump blasted Democrats who want to fund health care for undocumented immigrants and criticized California for expanding health coverage to some adults living in the state illegally.

“You look at what they’re doing in California, how they’re treating people. They don’t treat their people as well as they treat illegal immigrants,” the Republican president told reporters in the White House on Monday. “It’s very unfair to our citizens and we’re going to stop it, but we may need an election to stop it.”

Trump did not elaborate about how he intends to stop California from expanding health care options for undocumented immigrants.

The $214.8 billion state budget Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last week makes California the first state to allow undocumented adults to sign up for state-funded health coverage. Many of the Democrats running for president say their health care plans would cover immigrants living in the country illegally.

Starting Jan. 1 2020, California will allow undocumented immigrants under age 26 to enroll in the state’s Medi-Cal program, the state’s health coverage for low-income residents. American citizens were already eligible to sign up for the program, which covers about a third of California residents.

The expansion will cost California $98 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

At a news conference Monday celebrating his first state budget, Newsom, a Democrat, joked about the controversy the Medi-Cal expansion is generating with conservatives.

“To my friends at Fox News, I know we’re keeping you in business,” he said.

He promised to continue expanding health coverage to more undocumented people in future years.

“Universal health care is a right regardless of immigration status,” Newsom said. “I’m going to get the rest of that done, mark my words, and make progress next year and the year after that.”

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Sophia Bollag covers California politics and government. Before joining The Bee, she reported in Sacramento for the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times. She grew up in California and is a graduate of Northwestern University.
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