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The Oregon State Senate passed Saturday a bill to make illegal immigrants in Oregon eligible for Medicaid-funded health services. It is now being sent to the Democratic Governor. Kate Brown to be signed.
HB335 broadens eligibility for individuals who would otherwise be eligible to Medicaid-funded state assistance program, but are exempt due to immigration status. After being passed by the House earlier this week, the Senate passed it 17-11.
The Lund Report, a Portland-based outlet, first reported the news. The outlet had previously cited estimates that there are more than 110,000 illegal immigrants in the state and that the program would cost $100 million in the next two years.
Lawmakers in favor of the bill had estimated that the bill “would expand Medicaid coverage to include approximately 100,000 Oregonians who would otherwise be eligible except for their status as undocumented immigrants.”
“When opportunities are withheld in our state from a certain class of people we perpetuate systems inequity,” said the lawmakers in The Oregonian. “We, as legislators of color believe it important to challenge the injustices which have plagued our country and state ever since its inception.”
Brown, a Democrat who previously supported the “Cover All People” proposal, is likely to sign the bill.
“All Oregonians must have quality, affordable health care, regardless of who they are or where they live,” Brown said in March. “During our time together as Governor, there have been great advances in expanding access. Today, Oregonians have access to health care for 94 percent and children for 100 percent. This is not good enough. Unfortunately, this has been a cost that communities of colour have had to bear. Community of color continue to bear the brunt of coverage gaps.
The latest move by Democrats across America is to expand taxpayer-funded benefits programs for those illegally in the country. This can be done by expanding access, removing restrictions, or by promoting citizenship for those illegally entered.
New York recently created a $2 billion fund to offer one-time payments of up to $15,600 to illegal immigrants who lost income during the pandemic but were not eligible for federal aid.
Washington saw a lot of Democrats push for stimulus checks, and other coronavirus aid, to be made available to those illegally in the country. These moves were resisted by Republicans.
Republicans had earlier this year proposed an amendment to prohibit future economic impact payments being sent to illegal immigrants. 42 Senate Democrats voted against the proposal.