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Advocates Say More Immigrants Eligible For Medi-Cal Under President's Executive Action

City Heights resident Norma Navarro is pictured with her children at Central Elementary School in 2013. Navarro's family is "mixed status," meaning her and her daughter are in the country illegally but her youngest was born here. Navarro and her daughter aren't eligible for full health coverage while her son is.
Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego
City Heights resident Norma Navarro is pictured with her children at Central Elementary School in 2013. Navarro's family is "mixed status," meaning her and her daughter are in the country illegally but her youngest was born here. Navarro and her daughter aren't eligible for full health coverage while her son is.
Advocates Say More Immigrants Eligible For Medi-Cal
Immigrant advocates say more immigrants who are in California illegally will be eligible for Medi-Cal under President Barack Obama’s recent executive action granting them deportation relief and work permits.

Immigrant advocates say more undocumented Californians could receive health care as a result of President Barack Obama’s recent executive action. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. _____________________ BODY :52 California already allows some undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal if they’ve qualified for deportation relief. Anthony Wright is Executive Director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access California. He says the president's executive action will expand the pool of Medi-Cal eligible immigrants. UNDOCDCO2A: “California has a long and proud history and tradition and policy of covering certain categories of immigrants, including those with deferred action status through a state-only Medi-Cal program.” (:10) However the California Department of Health Care Services says it’s still waiting for guidance from the federal government. The state must already provide some medical services to undocumented immigrants. The department notes any information provided by undocumented immigrants is used to determine their Medi-Cal eligibility, and not for immigration enforcement. At the state Capitol, I’m Katie Orr.

California already allows some undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal, the state's version of the public health program Medicaid, if they’ve qualified for deportation relief.

Anthony Wright is executive director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access California. He said the president's executive action last week will expand the pool of Medi-Cal eligible immigrants. The action grants defers deportation for three years for individuals who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years, whose children are citizens or lawful permanent residents and who have clean criminal records.

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“California has a long and proud history and tradition and policy of covering certain categories of immigrants, including those with deferred action status through a state-only Medi-Cal program,” Wright said.

However the California Department of Health Care Services said it’s still waiting for guidance from the federal government.

The state must already provide some medical services to undocumented immigrants. Most often, Medi-Cal is extended to children and pregnant women who are in the United States illegally. Long-term care is also made available to immigrants undergoing kidney dialysis.

READ MORE: Multi-Status Families Brace For Health Care Reform

The department notes any information provided by undocumented immigrants is used to determine their Medi-Cal eligibility, and not for immigration enforcement.

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About 180,000 immigrants live illegally in the county, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.