State Senator Champions Health for All
– by Elías Magaña, Health Career Connection Intern
California State Senator Ricardo Lara has acted as a consistent champion and advocate for immigrant rights and universal health care. Senator Lara grew up in East Los Angeles and represents around 1 million residents of Senate District 33. Throughout his time in office, Senator Lara has sought concrete social and economic change for his constituents. Notably, on October 9, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senator Lara’s Health for all Kids Act (SB-4). This bill allows all low-income undocumented children and youth under 19 years of age to apply for full scope Medi-Cal. Senator Lara has also shown himself to be an advocate for education for all, regardless of background. His California L.E.A.R.N (Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness Now) initiative which aims to expand multilingual programs for all students went into effect July 1, 2017. In addition, he authored the California Dream Loan Program which helps undocumented University of California and California State University students apply for loans.
Recently Senator Lara has worked to broaden his Health for all Kids effort with SB-10, the Health for All Young Adults bill, and the Healthy California Act (SB-562). Signed by the Governor in June 2016, SB-10 aimed to request a waiver from the federal government to expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented young people up to age 26. Senator Lara traveled to DC to build support for the waiver, but retracted it before President Trump’s inauguration.
The single-payer health care bill (SB-562) proposes to provide universal health care coverage throughout the state and is currently stalled in the Assembly. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shelved the bill for now, citing a lack of fiscal mechanism to fund the law’s intent.
Senator Lara’s proposed bills SB-29 and SB-30 aim to fight for immigrant rights by preventing California from entering into contracts with for-profit companies to detain immigrants and individuals or companies that have accepted federal contracts related to a wall project on the Southern California border. Both bills are currently in the committee process in the Assembly with SB-29 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee while SB-30 will be heard in the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee, as of the date of this post.
Senator Ricardo Lara’s work is relevant to the people he has sworn to serve. Senate District 33 is comprised of a significantly Hispanic population, and Senator Lara’s service and background reflects the communities he represents.