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Access to healthcare is one of the main inequities that many Latinos regularly face. Despite being the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the country, they are still the largest uninsured group in the nation.
In California, an effort has been underway for quite some time to help alleviate the problem. However, it has faced a temporary setback.
A proposed program in the heavily Latino-populated state of California (38.39% Latino population) that would have given health benefits to all undocumented young adults as part of Medi-Cal failed to make it into the state’s budget.
Known as “Health for All Young Adults,” the program has been spearheaded by the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the California Immigrant Policy Center, and Health Access California. The original proposal was to allocate $80-$90 million in funding from the so-called Tobacco Tax.
If this measure would have been included in the annual state budget, it would have allowed for the expansion of Medi-Cal to include low-income, undocumented young adults (aged 19-26).
“We are saddened to share that [Health for All Young Adults] will not be included in this year’s budget proposal,” said a statement from the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. “For immigrants and undocumented people in California, this decision means lives lost and delayed care.”
California currently offers free health care (as part of Medi-Cal) to all children up to the age of 19.
“We believe without coverage people are sicker, die younger and are one emergency away from financial ruin,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, in an interview with The Los Angeles Daily News. “It has consequences for their families and their communities—both health and financial consequences.”
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