SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - California is on the cusp of becoming the largest state in the nation to extend state-subsidized health coverage to children from low-income families who are in the country illegally.

A budget deal calls for the state to spend $40 million in the upcoming year to extend Medi-Cal coverage to low-income children under 19 regardless of their legal status.

Democrats, immigration groups and health care advocates are celebrating the initiative as social progress for the estimated 2.5 million California immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Critics, however, worry that the overburdened state-funded health program can't handle another 170,000 children.

The plan is expected to win easy approval on Friday from a Legislature that is controlled by Democrats. After several years of budget cuts, the state is enjoying billions in surplus.

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