Counties mull healthcare options for undocumented

County and state officials are considering policy changes to provide health care services for undocumented residents.

Under the Affordable Care Act, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for health care coverage. But the state does provide funding to counties, which wind up serving as the health-care provider for many undocumented residents.

Immigrants in the state who qualified for Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival initiative, the so-called Dreamers, are eligible for Medi-Cal coverage.

That coverage could be extended to up to 500,000 undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and who have no record of felony offenses or serious misdemeanors, under an executive action taken by the Obama Administration last year.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento County supervisors discussed restoring health care benefits for low-income undocumented residents.

Health officials estimate that there are tens of thousands of undocumented residents in Sacramento County. According to officials, providing care to a portion of that population could cost millions of dollars.

Sacramento County supervisors asked county staff members to provide more detailed estimates on cost, as well as descriptions of the various program options, in about two months.

Experts say Sacramento's actions could influence health policy at a state level.

The issue is also coming up in Fresno County, where  supervisors soon will vote on a plan to provide specialized care to undocumented immigrants.


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