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Majority of California Voters Support Expanding Medi-Cal for Undocumented Immigrants

Majority of California Voters Support Expanding Medi-Cal for Undocumented Immigrants

Over the past two years, California’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage expansions has resulted in the biggest increase in access to affordable health care in a generation. Today, thanks to a new Field Poll sponsored by the California Wellness Foundation, we know that a large majority of voters in the state see the ACA as a success. Further, there is significant support for expanding access to coverage to undocumented immigrants, who are currently left out of the ACA.

CPEHN Executive Director Sarah de Guia discussed the shifting attitudes on health coverage for undocumented immigrants with the San Francisco Chronicle this morning:

Health care advocates credited the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as contributing to the shift in sensibilities.

“Californians acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of services is working,” said Sarah de Guia... “People understand what it’s like to be uninsured (and then get coverage). Now there’s this growing movement of ‘We need to finish the job.’”

Earlier today, the California Wellness Foundation hosted a hearing in Sacramento to discuss the results of the survey. The event featured a presentation by Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo followed by a panel including de Guia, Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley, Covered California Director Peter Lee, and Juan Esparza Loera, editor of Vida en el Valle.

DiCamillo gave a detailed overview of the results of the poll, with accompanying charts. The panel after his presentation went into more detail about the findings. Some highlights included:

A large majority supports the ACA in California, which is different from the more even split across the overall U.S. population. “Voters are increasingly embracing the ACA and the implementation has had a positive impact on overall views of the health care system,” DiCamillo said during the panel.

Support for the ACA is on the rise across the state, and for the first time we see a majority of voters in each region supporting the law.

Support is also up across all racial and ethnic groups. And the Medi-Cal population strongly supports the law.

Medi-Cal is also playing an increasingly important role in the lives of California’s families. “The poll is reflective of the way that care delivery is improving,” Secretary Dooley said. “It’s not surprising to see that Medi-Cal remains an important part of the delivery system.”

A significant majority of California voters (58%) support expanding Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants. “It’s much easier to spend less now to take care of the health needs of this large population than to wait and pay much more later on treatment,” Loera said.

Covered California is also increasing in popularity and nearly half of all voters have visited the organization’s web site. “Virtually every Californian has a friend or family member who can benefit from the ACA’s coverage options,” Lee said in response to the high traffic on the website.

De Guia also discussed the importance of addressing the social and environmental determinants that are the roots of health inequities in California.

You can read the full results of the survey here. If you want to share how the ACA has impacted you or your community, please tell your story in the comments.

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