Virginia Democrats are pushing to expand state-funded health insurance for illegal immigrant children with a critical committee vote scheduled for Thursday.
The Senate bill, dubbed “Cover All Kids” by its supporters, aims to give illegal immigrant children access to a “state-funded comprehensive health coverage program” with eligibility requirements similar to those of the state's Medicaid program.
The bill specifically targets individuals in the Commonwealth under the age of 19 who are not covered by a group health plan or insurance coverage. It includes language “but, because of their immigration status, they would be eligible for medical assistance services,” which would expand access to illegal immigrant children.
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“As a result of President Biden's open border policy, every state is now a border state, including Virginia,” Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant told Fox News Digital. “Meanwhile, Virginia Democrats in the General Assembly are doing everything they can to undermine legal immigration and encourage illegal immigration into the Commonwealth.”
“During this session, Virginia Democrats have introduced bills that directly encourage illegal immigration,” Sturtevant said. “They want to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses valid for up to eight years. Now they are also working to divert limited resources from low-income Virginians to pay for health care for illegal immigrants. This will cost more than $100 dollars to Virginia taxpayers. millions in this decade alone.”
“These bad policies not only jeopardize Virginia's health care system, but create perverse incentives that illegal immigrants will view as a green light to come to Virginia for free college, driver's licenses and , now, free health care,” Sturtevant continued. “We've seen the mess that sanctuary city policies have created in places like Chicago and New York. We must protect the rule of law in Virginia and ensure that Virginia citizens come first.”
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The “Cover All Kids” legislation would extend coverage to uninsured illegal immigrant children in Virginia who are part of families at 205 percent of the federal poverty level. The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, which supports the legislation, estimated that amount at $50,963 for a family of three.
Supporters of the bill say twelve other states – California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington – as well as Washington, D.C., are using or planning to similarly use state funds to cover illegal immigrant children and Virginia should follow in their footsteps.
They also argue that children on Medicaid fare better in life.
“Every child across the Commonwealth, regardless of income, immigration status and background, should have access to comprehensive, quality health care,” the State of Virginia said. Senator Ghazala Hashmi, a Democrat, said of the effort. “We know that healthy childhoods lead to better health, education and economic outcomes for children and their families.”
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“With the Cover All Kids Act, we are sending a strong message that Virginia will invest in the future of every child,” she added.
The bill is scheduled for a key committee vote in the Virginia General Assembly on Thursday.