California governor signs bill letting undocumented immigrants buy insurance

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Obamacare for Undocumented Immigrants Soon Available in California

June 10 (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law allowing unauthorized immigrants to buy health insurance on a state exchange created under the U.S. Affordable Care Act, making the state the first in the country to offer that kind of coverage.

SEE ALSO: Man booked on suspicion of murder after gruesome discovery made in freezer

The law lets the state request a waiver from the federal government that will be needed to allow unauthorized immigrants to purchase unsubsidized insurance through Covered California, the state's healthcare exchange.

"Today we ask the federal government to remove another barrier to health insurance access that discriminates against some of our residents on the basis of their documentation status," said Senator Ricardo Lara, the bill's author, in a statement.

Related: See immigration protests at the Supreme Court:

11 PHOTOS
Supreme Court Immigration
See Gallery
California governor signs bill letting undocumented immigrants buy insurance
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists holding an American flag rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists holding an American flag and a large Michigan sign rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigration activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Immigrants and community leaders rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration in Washington, November 20, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive President Barack Obama's executive action to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, saying Republican-led states had no legal basis to challenge it. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Brown, a Democrat, signed the bill on Friday, according to the governor's website. His office was not immediately available for comment.

The Los Angeles Times reported that if the waiver is approved, it would allow as many as 390,000 immigrants to purchase healthcare insurance through the state's exchange.

Opponents of the legislation have said it would unnecessarily cost California taxpayers and strain the state's healthcare system.

About 7 percent of California's population, or 2.6 million people, lack legal immigration status. In 2012, the state spent more than $600 million on emergency room and other health-related services for people living in the state illegally. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Read Full Story

People are Reading