MOORLACH UPDATE — ACA Penalty Tax — June 19, 2019

The Associated Press has an amazing national reach. So, the quote I gave them regarding the majority party wanting to provide MediCal benefits to undocumented immigrants has been seen literally around the nation (see MOORLACH UPDATE — $214.8 Billion Budget Approved — June 13, 2019).

The Signal of Santa Clarita Valley took the quote and shaped an excellent editorial around it in the first piece below.

The use of Medi-Cal for undocumented immigrants has really frustrated the residents of California and it has caught the attention of the country. The Epoch Times covers interviews with me and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte on the subject in the second piece below. The Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee approved the "tax" penalty this afternoon and it will be forwarded to the Senate Floor soon.

Our View | Who Will Pay the Tab for Illegal Residents’ Care?

By The Signal Editorial Board

https://signalscv.com/2019/06/our-view-who-will-pay-the-tab-for-illegal-residents-care/

Suppose you have a choice to help two children in need. One of them is a perfect stranger, and the other is your own flesh and blood, your child, your son or daughter.

Assume their needs are roughly equal and they would face similar consequences without your help.

Who are you helping first? Would you protect the stranger at the expense of your own kid? Of course not. That’s not to say you have no compassion for the stranger, and it’s not to say you wouldn’t help the stranger if you could help both kids. But if you had to choose one, who’s your top priority?

It’s your kid. That’s a no-brainer. You wouldn’t dream of helping the stranger if it meant jeopardizing one of your own.

Yet, in California’s fervor to do anything and everything to help those living in the United States illegally, that’s exactly what will happen under the budget approved Thursday by the state Legislature.

Assuming Gov. Gavin Newsom approves the $214.8 million budget — which was expected but had not yet happened as of press time for this writing — California will become the first state to provide taxpayer-funded health insurance for some of those who are in the United States illegally.

And how are our hyper-compassionate Democratic legislative supermajority and Gov. Newsom planning to pay for it?

By taxing legal residents, our own citizens, who can’t afford health insurance. Of course. That’s how twisted this state’s priorities have become. It’s like California has fallen into Alice’s rabbit hole and Gov. Newsom is our own Mad Hatter.

California won’t even consider helping the federal government enforce immigration law, even if it means protecting violent criminals from deportation. Californians pay tens of millions of dollars every year to help pay for illegal immigrants to go to college while our own children face a lifetime burden of student loan debt.

And now, we tax our citizens who can’t afford health care so we can provide health insurance for illegal immigrants. In California, that’s what passes for making sense.

Yes, the illegal immigrants who will benefit, in the 19 to 25 age group, are largely comprised of people who were brought here as children by their parents. So a large percentage of them did not willfully break the law when they immigrated. They deserve compassion.

Yet, it’s still wrong for California to put them in line for health insurance on the backs of our own citizens in need.

Here’s how the $98 million illegal immigrant Medi-Cal health care tab will be picked up not only by you, the taxpayer, but specifically by taxpayers who themselves have difficulty affording health care: Remember the Obamacare provision that imposed a tax on those who don’t have health care? Thankfully, that provision was ditched under the 2017 Republican-led tax code overhaul.

But California is bringing it back at the state level, because in Sacramento, no idea is a bad idea if it benefits illegal immigrants at the expense of taxpaying citizens. So, under the new budget, those who do not have health care will be taxed, and the proceeds will be used to insure illegal immigrants ages 19-25.

And don’t kid yourself into thinking this will be the last of it. This is the kind of thing California’s Legislature will expand upon in the future.

As the Associated Press reported, “The proposal has angered Republican lawmakers, who argue it’s not fair to tax people in the country legally for not buying health insurance while making people living in the country illegally eligible for taxpayer-funded health insurance. ‘I just don’t get the prioritization,’ Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa said ahead of the vote. He noted he legally immigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1960.”

That’s it in a nutshell. And, this isn’t about refusing emergency care to anyone, regardless of immigration status. Of course, no one should be denied real emergency medical care.

When anyone with an emergency medical situation visits an emergency room seeking treatment, they should receive it, whether they are here legally or not.

Rather, this is about priorities, and taxing citizens to pay to insure non-citizens. Guess which segments of our population are the ones most likely to be hit with that tax?

Certainly not the most affluent among us. The affluent can afford insurance. It’ll be the low- to middle-income people living paycheck to paycheck, the people who choose food and rent over health insurance, who shoulder the burden.

Our own citizens. The ones who need help. If we have $98 million of their money to spend on health insurance, we should be spending it to help California’s citizens who can’t afford health care, or food, or rent, or an education.

And yes, while subsidized insurance for middle-income Californians is also part of the Newsom-Democrats’ plan, the fact remains they intend to take money out of the pockets of Californians who can’t afford insurance and funnel it toward insurance for illegal residents.

Compassion is one thing. But California’s priorities are upside down.

Republican Lawmakers React to $100 Million Budget Towards Medi-Cal for Illegal Aliens

BY IAN HENDERSON

https://www.theepochtimes.com/republican-lawmakers-react-to-100-million-budget-towards-medi-cal-for-illegal-aliens_2966592.html

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget, estimated at $213 billion, has set aside nearly $100 million for illegal immigrants residing in the state, ages 19-25, to receive Medi-Cal coverage.

The Medi-Cal extension will make California the first state to provide health insurance for illegal aliens.

Supporters of the move, such as president and CEO of the non-profit organization California Health Care Foundation, Sandra R. Hernandez, MD, said it was only one small step in a vast progressive movement to provide health care to all Californians.

“While today is surely a moment worth celebrating, we must also acknowledge the work ahead,” said Hernandez in a statement. “We must find a way to cover all Californians, including the low-income undocumented adults and seniors who remain ineligible for Medi-Cal.”

Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake), California Assemblyman for the 33rd District and vice chair of the Budget Committee told The Epoch Times that he’s not in favor of using Californians’ tax dollars in this way.

“The big problem with the expansion of Medi-Cal is that we are already failing in our commitment to the Californians who are on that program,” he said.

“I represent a fairly rural part of the state. [Many of] my constituents are unable to access Medi-Cal when they are ill. So many physicians in my district are unable to accept the low reimbursement rates that are provided under Medi-Cal. You need a very large practice as a doctor to accept those reimbursement rates, and I don’t have many physicians [in my district] that are able to. When my constituents get sick, even though technically they’re covered, they can’t see a doctor.”

Obernolte argued that the state has an obligation to fix these problems before addressing healthcare for illegal aliens.

“We are trying to do what’s best, from a public policy standpoint for the people who already live here,” he said.

While Obernolte voiced his disagreement with the legislature’s passage of this provision, he did point out that many liberal lawmakers did not get everything they wanted.

“They were seeking to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to senior undocumented immigrants and that is something that the governor did not agree to,” he said.

When asked how his constituents felt about the budget allocations, Obernolte said they were overwhelmingly opposed to it.

“People [are] concerned about the overall costs, and [there are] constituents that are unconvinced that providing services to people who aren’t here legally is a good use of taxpayer resources,” he said.

The state budget, which also includes an individual mandate on health insurance, would obligate residents in the state to purchase health insurance. This measure was enacted as a means of countering Congressional Republicans’ removal of the national individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Revenue from this statewide mandate would be used to fund insurance premium subsidies for middle income people, including illegal aliens residing in the state.

State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) also weighed in on the controversial budget proposal.

“I am an immigrant,” he told The Epoch Times. “I came here in 1960 from the Netherlands. I am one of those legislators that tend to get a little offended when those that have not come through the front door are receiving benefits from the state.”

Moorlach further weighed in on the costs to the taxpayer as a result of this provision being enacted.

“The federal government has failed miserably at controlling our borders and now we have [these individuals] here and they are in our hospitals, in our emergency rooms. We have an industry that has been [weighed down] by subsidizing undocumented individuals. I understand maybe helping out a hospital association, but I think it’s a little offensive to most citizens that this is the approach that the governor wants to take.”

When asked about whether this allocation of Medi-Cal would attract more illegal immigration, Moorlach believed it possibly would.

“The question is Governor Newsom doing this out of exasperation or is he doing this [to try and] be hospitable to anybody that walks through the door? I tend to think it’s the latter, and that’s why it’s frustrating to my constituents. We’ve been getting a lot of calls from constituents arguing against medical benefits for undocumented immigrants.”

When asked as to whether this provision would add to the debt, Senator Moorlach pointed out that Betty Yee, the state’s Controller, highlighted the significant increase in the state deficit for this fiscal year.

“In the middle of the budget conference committee meetings, the State Controller, Betty Yee, released the comprehensive annual financial report for the year end of June 30th 2018. It was finally completed in the middle of June, a year later. [The report] will show you that the retiree medical liability for health benefits for state employees has increased by $44 billion and our unrestricted net deficit went up from $169.5 billion to $213 billion. The state not only this last week approved the largest budget in its history, but it’s also been notified that its unrestricted net deficit is also the largest in its history as well,” he said.

Moorlach also shed light on the statewide individual mandate and as to whether the penalty citizens will have to pay for not being insured will go towards paying for illegal aliens’ insurance.

“Ironically that seems to be the case,” he responded.

Senator Moorlach suggested that instead of being obstructive towards D.C., Sacramento should try to find the middle ground on this issue. “I think what the Governor should really be focused on is not just being antagonistic to the President, but maybe sending a blue-ribbon committee to work with D.C. to figure out how to get a pathway to citizenship.”

Governor Newsom’s budget was passed on June 13, sending it to Newsom for his signature. The Senate vote was 29-11, and the Assembly approved it 60-15, largely along party lines.

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