President Obama’s new immigration overhaul could increase Latino enrollment under his signature health law by reducing the threat of deportation and making more Californians comfortable signing up for coverage they already qualify to get.

Over time, the initiative may also pave the way for more Californians to become eligible for state-funded Medi-Cal coverage. Friday, state officials were noncommittal about that idea, and said they would have to assess the effect of the president’s immigration proposal.

In the meantime, California healthcare leaders were optimistic about greater participation.

“The president’s decision could be a major boost to enrollment in California,” said Howard Kahn, chief executive of L.A. Care Health Plan, which has 1.6 million Medi-Cal members and about 30,000 customers in the state insurance exchange. “It will open up both Covered California and Medi-Cal to people who feared exposure to deportation.”

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