September 22, 2015
[Martinez, CA] – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved a plan today in a 4-1 vote to expand access to healthcare for residents regardless of immigration status. The decision comes six years after the Board voted to bar undocumented adults from participating in the County’s Basic Health Care Plan.
“Today was a huge victory in bridging the gap of health equity in Contra Costa County. The Contra Costa CARES program demonstrates the commitment of our elected officials and healthcare leaders to work together for the benefit of everyone in this county,” said Alvaro Fuentes, Executive Director of the Community Clinic Consortium representing community health centers in Contra Costa County. “The vote today echoes the voices of thousands of individuals – locally and statewide – committed to improving the health of their communities by ensuring that everyone has access to quality and affordable health care.”
The approved plan will allocate $500,000 in County funding toward the program. Led by the Consortium, a diverse set of public and private health systems stakeholders developed the program to help meet the healthcare needs of those not covered by the Affordable Care Act. Several local partners who participated in the development of Contra Costa CARES are anticipated to match the County’s contribution. As a result, the program is expected to be implemented with a total of $1,000,000 to serve approximately 3,000 residents. Meanwhile, estimates from the UC Berkeley Labor Center show that in Contra Costa County the undocumented population may be closer to 19,000.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ decision comes on the heels of Monterey County’s expansion of healthcare access for undocumented residents. This year, 35 rural counties in California and Sacramento County also expanded access to healthcare for undocumented adults and expansion of Medi-Cal access to undocumented children in the state was approved in the Governor’s budget. Contra Costa represents the 47th county in the state to provide access to healthcare for its undocumented adult population.