Leader Jones Urges Governor to Save over $4 Billion by Freezing Undocumented Immigrant Medi-Cal Expansion in the Midst of a $68 Billion Deficit

In response to California’s staggering $68 billion budget deficit, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) is urging Governor Newsom and Democrat lawmakers to enact an 18-month freeze on the expansion of Medi-Cal for undocumented immigrants aged 26-49. This strategic freeze would save over $4 billion.

“In the midst of a significant budget deficit, hospitals shutting down, and a massive influx of migrants illegally crossing our open border, now is not the time to be expanding this costly government program,” said Leader Jones. “Our priority should be safeguarding critical services and core functionalities. If Democrat politicians are the ‘responsible leaders’ they claim to be, they should work with Republicans to freeze the Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented immigrants while we balance the budget.”

The Medi-Cal expansion exacerbates existing challenges posed by the program’s low reimbursement rate, which is a major factor in hospitals and maternity wards shutting down across the state.

More than 2 million undocumented immigrants live in California. It will cost the state at least $5 billion annually to provide Medi-Cal to all undocumented immigrants, according to estimates by the Department of Health Care Services. Given the fact that over 300,000 undocumented immigrants have crossed into California at the Mexico border in 2023 alone, the costs for this program are only going to increase.

“While the border and migrant crisis is inherently a federal issue, Californians should not have to bear the costs of the federal government’s failure,” Leader Jones continued. “I cannot emphasize this enough - the federal government must pass comprehensive immigration reform and fix this issue immediately. I am advocating to close the border to new undocumented migrants and focus our resources on processing the migrants who have already arrived.”

Last month, Leader Jones visited the California-Mexico border on a bipartisan tour to learn more about the border crisis on the ground. Read more about the tour here.