A California Senate fiscal analysis released on 4 May revealed that extending state-subsidised healthcare coverage to undocumented immigrants could cost the state up to $740m (£489m) annually. According to the Los Angeles Times, the report marks the first price tag to the bill proposed by Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara.
The Senate analysis covered two different scenarios to calculate the bill's cost, the Times reported.
The first scenario, under normal circumstances, Medi-Cal spending would increase between $280m to $740m. An estimated 50-60% of eligible undocumented immigrants would enroll in Medi-Cal, according to the report.
An estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants living in California do not have healthcare coverage, researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA found. Nearly 1.5 million of those immigrants would qualify for the state's subsidised healthcare plan.
The second scenario takes into consideration President Obama's executive order on immigration, which grants deportation relief to qualified immigrants. According to the Times, the order would allow about 900,000 immigrants to qualify for Medi-Cal and other state programmes.
Those affected by the order would not qualify under Senate Bill 4, thus reducing the price tag between $175m and $455m. Obama's executive order is being held by a Texas federal judge as it faces a lawsuit from several states that aims to prevent the order from going into effect.
According to the Times, Lara stated the Senate's analysis reflects "our ongoing efforts to develop a realistic, cost-effective solution in our pursuit of expanding healthcare for all Californians, regardless of immigration status."
The San Jose Mercury News reported that the bill will now be on hold until the end of the month, when it will either head to the full Senate for a vote or be shelved. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to send SB 4, as well as other bills, to the committee's suspense file, the Mercury News reported.