Biden: We Have an ‘Obligation’ to Provide Health Care to Undocumented Immigrants

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday said the United States is obligated to give health care to everyone, "regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented."

During a campaign stop in Los Angeles, Calif., Democratic presidential candidate Biden answered questions from reporters, including a question about undocumented immigrants and the right to health care.

"Do you think that undocumented immigrants who are in this country and are law-abiding should be entitled to federal benefits like Medicare, Medicaid for example?" a reporter asked.

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"Look, I think that anyone who is in a situation where they are in need of health care, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, we have an obligation to see that they are cared for," Biden said. "That's why I think we need more clinics in this country."

"By the way a significant portion of undocumented folks in this country are there because they overstayed their visas," Biden continued. "It's not people breaking down gates coming across the border, so the biggest thing we got to do on this thing is tone down the rhetoric. We know why it's happening. It's to create fear and concern."

Providing health care to illegal immigrants has been a major policy issue in California over the last year. California's new Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, has proposed expanding "eligibility to unauthorized young adult immigrants from age 19 through 25," according to the Sacramento Bee.

California already allows eligible immigrant children up to age 19 to participate in Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program for low-income residents, regardless of their immigration status. The current budget sets aside $365.2 million to pay for the coverage.

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His office estimates it would cost nearly $260 million to cover them in 2019-20. While state and federal governments usually share Medicaid costs, California would have to bear the full cost of covering this population.