Virginia Senate passes bill to give Medicaid-style health insurance to illegal immigrants


A bill in the Virginia Senate passed entirely along party lines on Tuesday to give illegal immigrant children access to the state-funded comprehensive health care coverage. The “Cover All Kids” plan still needs to be approved by the Democrat majority House of Delegates before it will head to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk, where he will have the opportunity to approve or veto the plan. Virginia has about 251,000 illegal immigrants.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi of Richmond, who said that health care is a right for everyone. “We want to make sure that Virginia is living up to its promise to its children,” she said. “Currently, 88,000 children in Virginia currently lack access to healthcare coverage. Virginia stands at the 25th position in the country concerning uninsured children, this is a statistic that must be altered.”

SB231 bears similarities in eligibility to the Medicaid program in the state but states that it is to “establish a program to provide state-funded comprehensive health care coverage for individuals in the Commonwealth who (i) are under 19 years of age” who “but for their immigration status would be eligible for medical assistance services through the Commonwealth’s program of medical assistance services established pursuant to Title XIX or XXI of the Social Security Act.” Illegal immigrant families who are at 205% of the federal poverty level, or earn about $51,000 per year for a three-person family, would be eligible to access the health care.

This means essentially that the state is expanding a Medicaid style program to illegal immigrant minors. The bill also states that The Department of Medical Assistance Services “shall not disclose information obtained by the program established by this section to any federal, state, or local government entity, law-enforcement officer, or law-enforcement agency for any purpose related to civil immigration enforcement,” unless the individual consents or there is a warrant.

Republican State Sen. Glen Sturtevant spoke about the bill, saying “This session, Virginia Democrats have introduced bills that directly incentivize illegal immigration,” Sturtevant said. “They want to grant illegal immigrants driver’s licenses that are valid for up to eight years. Now, they’re also working to divert limited resources from low-income Virginians to pay for healthcare for illegal immigrants. That will cost Virginia taxpayers more than $100 million just in this decade.”

“These bad policies jeopardize not just Virginia’s healthcare system but create perverse incentives that illegal immigrants will see as a green light to travel to Virginia for free schooling, driver’s licenses, and now, free healthcare,” Sturtevant went on. “We have seen the mess that sanctuary city policies have created in places like Chicago and New York. We must protect the rule of law in Virginia and ensure that Virginia citizens come first.”

A proposed bill in the US Senate, brought by Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn, Missouri’s Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and John Barrasso of Wyoming would prevent states from making American taxpayers subsidize state health care programs that expand Medicaid benefits to illegal immigrants.

The “Protect Medicaid Act” would ensure that residents of other states did not pay for the largesse of legislators in another state. “Medicaid for migrants is a magnet for more illegal immigration,” Cassidy said.

“Not only is it unfair to hardworking citizens, but it incentivizes more illegal immigration and puts the care of millions of Americans on the back burner,” Blackburn said.

While federal law does not permit states to use federal Medicaid dollars for health care for illegal immigrants, states get around this by using state funds for the programs for illegal immigrants while taking federal aid for funds for citizens. The programs for illegal immigrants would be less feasible if states had less money to spend overall on healthcare.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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