Oregon bill could expand Medicaid to kids in the country illegally

Salem, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are moving forward with legislation to extend Medicaid to children brought into the country illegally.

Senate Bill 558 would permit all eligible children residing in Oregon to enroll in Oregon’s Medicaid program, regardless of citizenship status.

Current law allows for legal immigrant children to be covered, but SB 558 would remove language that requires children to be “lawfully present.”

The health care expansion could cost an estimated $36 million over the next two years, and around $110 million per-year when fully implemented, according to a report by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Oregon’s Medicaid budget was in the red at the start of the latest legislative session, but through an increase in health care taxes and budget shifting, lawmakers were able to save more than 350,000 people from being thrown off the program.

If it passes the Oregon House and is signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, kids who can’t prove their citizenship states will be eligible for Medicaid coverage in January, 2018.

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