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Half of California’s undocumented immigrants are impoverished: study

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About half of California’s undocumented immigrants are poor enough to qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for its poorest residents, according to a new report.

The study by the Public Policy Institute of California comes amid ongoing discussion in the most populous U.S. state over how to pay for healthcare for the estimated 60 percent of undocumented immigrants who do not have insurance.

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The report estimates that as many as three million undocumented immigrants live in California, of whom 51 percent are impoverished.

A new law set to take effect next year that would allow the children of some undocumented immigrants to apply for Medi-Cal if their families make less annually than $33,500, or 138 percent of the federal poverty level of about $24,000 per year for a family of four.

But the state has yet to expand access to the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, or Medi-Cal itself to undocumented adults.

As a result, the San Francisco-based nonpartisan policy research organization said that those who become ill wait until they are very sick and then go to emergency rooms, so that it costs more to treat them than it would if they had received regular preventive care.

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“The undocumented rely largely on safety net service providers when they need it. Community clinics and hospital emergency departments are their main access to organized healthcare,” said Shannon McConville, a co-author of the report.

Most impoverished undocumented families live in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, the report said.

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Readily available health services have been connected to lower mortality rates, better employment results and better education effects, the organization said.

(Reporting by Kayla Nick-Kearney; editing by Sharon Bernstein, G Crosse)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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