Covering CA’s Undocumented

92 percent of Californians have insurance coverage. The eight percent who don’t are primarily undocumented residents. CA has sufficient ongoing resources to cover them.

Concerns about covering the undocumented have centered on the risk that a new program, estimated to cost $3 billion per year, would add to the state’s structural deficit. But the program doesn’t have to add to the structural deficit. Funding can come from redirecting >$4 billion/yr being spent on unnecessary insurance subsidies for 300,000 retired public employees and their dependents. Right now the Legislature provides those subsidies even if the retiree/dependent is eligible for Medicare or ACA coverage or has a new job or has left California, and the subsidies are up to 30x greater than other western states provide. The Legislature has the right to amend the terms of that program.

Right now California is providing excess coverage to less than one percent of Californians and leaving billions of federal dollars on the table while eight percent of its most vulnerable residents go without coverage. The Legislature can fix that.

Originally published at

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store