(The Post Millennial) – A bill passed by Oregon’s State Senate on Saturday is headed to the desk of Governor Kate Brown that would make illegal immigrants in the state eligible for Medicaid-funded medical services.
HB 335, will expand eligibility to adults who are excluded from Medicaid-funded state medical assistance due to their immigration status. The legislation passed 17-11 in the state Senate, after having passed the House 37-21 earlier this week, both along party lines.
Pew Research estimates Oregon’s illegal immigrant population is approximately 110,000 and would cost the state $100 million in the next biennium. Medicaid costs taxpayers about $6,000 per covered individual per year, which at 50,000 people, would total approximately $300 million a year.
According to The Lund Report, the federal government, which pays the majority of Medicaid’s costs, will not pay for coverage for illegal immigrants. Therefore, the added costs would likely fall to the state. House Republican Leader Christine Drazan opposed the bill because of questions regarding the long-term financial sustainability of the initiative.
According to The Oregonian, Democrat lawmakers in favor of the bill said, “When opportunities in our state are withheld from a specific class of people, we perpetuate systems of inequity. As legislators of color, we believe it is important to challenge the injustices that have been in our nation and state since their founding.”
The bill is likely to be signed by Democrat Governor Brown.