Sacramento County officials to consider options for restoring health care to undocumented residents

Undocumented immigrants have been going without health care coverage in Sacramento County since budget-strapped officials cut off that aid in 2009. Nearly six years later to the month, county supervisors are finally workshopping a fix.

On March 18, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider what other counties are doing, as well as how the landscape has altered as a result of the Affordable Care Act and a presidential executive order that could shield an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and grant them provisional legal status.

“Even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expanded Medi-Cal benefits, we have constituents who lack access to health care,” board chairman Phil Serna said in a statement. “It’s imperative we carefully explore restoring health services for our county’s undocumented population as we begin to consider next year’s budget.”

Eleven other California counties provide health care to undocumented immigrants, with all but two of them owning public hospitals through which they provide that care. Meanwhile, enrollment in Sacramento County’s low-income and indigent health programs has plummeted 99.5 percent as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medi-Cal—from 30,600 recipients in 2012 to 154 in December.

Serna stressed that the point of the March 18 meeting was not to settle on a path forward, but to hear “from stakeholders about this critical issue.”

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