Rules that could give immigrants reason to avoid enrolling in health safety net programs would deliver a blow to California’s economy, costing the state thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic output, a new study concluded.
Under the rules proposed by the Homeland Security Department, immigrants could jeopardize their chances of getting green cards if they enroll themselves or their children in Medicaid — the half-century-old government health insurance program for the poor — or nutrition assistance programs such as CalFresh or federal housing assistance.
The rules would likely cost the California economy more than 17,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in lost economic output if just 35% of the Californians in immigrant families currently making use of these programs decide to not enroll, said the study, which was done by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, UC Berkeley Labor Center and a nonprofit group, California Food Policy Advocates. The study said 6,200 of those lost jobs and $992 million of that lost output would be in the Los Angeles area.
California’s healthcare and food-related industries would be hit hardest by the resulting job losses, the study said. Of the jobs lost, 47% would be in healthcare and 10% would be food-related, said the study, which added that 4% would be in real estate.
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