Last year, California passed a law that will offer government-subsidized health benefits for undocumented immigrants under the age of 26. The expansion took effect New Year’s Day and will cost $98 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Now Governor Gavin Newsom indicates he wants to expand the plan to include illegal immigrant seniors.

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a $222 billion state budget Friday that he said represents a snapshot of his priorities for California, including boosting funding for homelessness programs, paying for health care for undocumented-immigrant seniors and closing a state prison.

He repeatedly portrayed those plans as a rebuke of a federal government that he said is increasingly unwilling to help the state tackle its most pressing problems, as well as of “a California derangement syndrome going on in the popular media — that somehow our best days are behind us, that somehow California’s not hitting on many cylinders.”

“I’m very proud to be a Californian,” Newsom said during a news conference at the state Capitol. “I’m proud of this state, and I’m proud of the budget that we are presenting today, because I am not naive about the areas where we’re falling short.”

I would argue that he is clearly naive. Inasmuch as homelessness is still at crisis levels, we are threatened with serious public health issues, and our state’s infrastructure is pitiful. Giving away free stuff to non-citizens actually makes all of these situations worse.

However, supporters of this proposal are excited about the possibility. Read their explanation of support, and see where you can find the flaw in their logic tree:

Supporters of the expansion say covering seniors is the logical — and less costly — next step toward universal healthcare coverage, a policy goal central to Newsom’s campaign platform. One of the largest groups of uninsured Californians is immigrants in the U.S. illegally, with an estimated 1.5 million adults eligible based on income but excluded because of their immigration status.

The administration estimated last year that expanding Medi-Cal to all income-eligible adults regardless of age or immigration status would cost $2.4 billion a year.

These immigrants are not “Californians,” but citizens of another country who are here illegally. The good news is that the rest of the nation doesn’t have to pay for this travesty because the Affordable Care Act prohibits the use of federal dollars for covering such immigrants.

Wiser analysis concludes that this move will speed the exodus from California by the middle class.

“The state has taken numerous steps over the years to accommodate people who are in the country illegally,” says Ira Mehlman from the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

He says the program will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

“In Sacramento they continue to make choices that will further discourage the middle-class from remaining in California and further encourage more people to come and settle illegally,” says Mehlman.

Perhaps when enough taxpayers leave the state, Newsom will realize that he was fixing the wrong problems.

 
 
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