SACRAMENTO (AP) — Californians increasingly support extending public health care services to immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to new survey results released Wednesday.
The Field Poll found 58 percent of registered California voters support extending Medi-Cal services to immigrants not currently eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, while 39 percent are opposed.
Last year, 51 percent supported expanding the low-income health program to immigrants while 45 percent were opposed.
By party affiliation, Democrats overwhelmingly favor the proposal, 78 percent to 19 percent. Republicans oppose the change, 72 percent to 25 percent.
Three-quarters of Latinos support extending Medi-Cal to immigrants in the country illegally, and a majority of whites, African Americans and Asian Americans also support the move.
“These findings tell us that Californians value health equity,” said Judy Belk, president and chief executive of California Wellness, which funded the survey. “There is increasing support for ACA, and a clear desire to be inclusive of all people, including the undocumented, when it comes to health care access.”
An estimated 2.7 million immigrants are living in California illegally. In June, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a budget that expands state-subsidized Medi-Cal coverage to low-income children regardless of their legal status beginning next May.
The move could cost taxpayers up to $132 million annually once fully implemented.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, has proposals seeking to extend health coverage to adult immigrants who are in the country illegally (SB10) and to allow people to purchase private health coverage in Covered California regardless of their legal status (SB4).
The poll was conducted by telephone from June 25 to July 16, surveying 1,555 registered voters in California. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.