New Study: California Health Care Safety-Net Uneven For Those Who Remain Uninsured After Obamacare Expansions

Nov 07, 2013, 17:25 ET from Health Access California

County Governments to Make Critical Policy Decisions Starting This Month on Scope of Programs for Millions of Californians Who Will Remain Uninsured After Affordable Care Act Implementation

Consumer Advocacy Group Spotlights Counties Extending a Medical Home to All; Other Recommendations Include Greater Data Disclosure; a Statewide Solution to Covering Undocumented

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, released today "California's Uneven Safety Net: A Survey of County Health Care", revealing the wide range of what counties do and don't do to serve their uninsured residents, and putting a spotlight on decisions counties will be making this month about the future of their safety-net services in health care.

The Affordable Care Act provides access to affordable, quality coverage for millions of Californians, but potentially over 3 million Californians will remain uninsured for a variety of reasons despite the law; counties have traditionally been the provider of last resort for those who are uninsured and cannot access health care through other means.

The study provides new, comprehensive county-by-county data not available from any single government source. It also reveals that California's safety net for the remaining uninsured is uneven—and could get more uneven depending on county actions in the next few months. With this report as a benchmark, Health Access urges the public and the press to follow the decisions that counties must make in the coming weeks regarding the scope of their indigent care programs after the Affordable Care Act.

"The promise of health care reform was to make sure that everyone—regardless of income or background—could have access to basic care. The Affordable Care Act will dramatically cut the number of uninsured, but there's more that needs to be done at the state and county level to include everyone and improve our health system as whole," said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access. "We want to spotlight those counties that are stepping up to ensure access and afford basic care."

The survey includes key recommendations, including support for robust efforts to enroll eligible populations into Covered California plans and Medi-Cal to reduce the number of remaining uninsured.  The recommendations suggest actions for both the state and the counties to be able to cover this population. As part of the report's recommendations, Health Access and its partners urge greater transparency, and use the opportunity of the rollout of the ACA to further expand coverage; county governments should hold off on any reductions in services until they get a year of what is available today.

"California is stronger when everyone has access to care and coverage," said Wright. "It's cheaper to have access to primary, preventive care than to treat illnesses after they develop. By ensuring that Californians have that access, counties can make sure that their residents are healthy and contributing economically to their communities."

  • The full report and supporting documents can be accessed by visiting or directly by visiting

  • A recording of a conference call with California media and state and advocacy group leaders can be accessed by dialing (800) 475-6701, Access Code: 308191. The recording will be available from 1:00 PM on November 7 until November 12.
  • Local events to discuss study findings and recommendations, including implications for particular counties, will be held with community leaders in the following locations:

Tuesday, 11/12, 12:00 PM

LA-USC Medical Center, Los Angeles

Contact: Muneera Gardezi

(310) 597-2083

Thursday, 11/14, 12:00 PM

Coachella City Hall, Coachella

Contact: Muneera Gardezi

(310) 597-2083

Friday, 11/15, 12:00 PM:

Lifelong Medical Care, San Pablo

Contact: Rose Auguste

(510) 842-6770

About Health Access
Health Access works to secure quality, affordable health care for all Californians. Health Access California is the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, advocating for the goal of quality, affordable health care for all Californians. The Health Access Foundation undertakes community organizing and education, applied research, and policy analysis, and advocates for reform to benefit health care consumers, both insured and uninsured. Working together, these two organizations are the leading coalition voice for health care consumers in California. We represent consumers in the legislature, at administrative and regulatory agencies, in the media, and at public forums. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Health Access California