Contra Costa County Considering Health Services Cuts for Undocumented Immigrants, Inmates
This month, the Contra Costa County, Calif., Board of Supervisors will consider a plan to prohibit undocumented adult immigrants from receiving nonurgent, county-funded care, the Contra Costa Times reports. About 5,500 undocumented immigrants are eligible for the county's Basic Health Care Program, which serves low-income residents who cannot obtain any other health insurance.
The county would continue to provide care for undocumented children younger than age 19, as well as provide coverage for emergencies, pregnancies and certain other conditions, including tuberculosis and breast cancer. If approved, the plan to exclude adult undocumented immigrants from primary care services could save the county medical system $6 million annually. Last month, Sacramento County supervisors approved a plan to cut nonurgent care for undocumented immigrants in an effort to save the county $2.4 million.
Contra Costa County also is considering cutting a $2.6 million program that provides health care for inmates of the West County Detention Facility in Richmond.
Tanir Ami, executive director of the Community Clinic Consortium for Contra Costa and Solano counties, said her organization and others are asking supervisors to reconsider the cuts. She said that those who are excluded from county care will be discouraged from seeking primary care altogether, which could endanger the overall health of the community and place a burden on future emergency services (O'Brien, Contra Costa Times, 3/2).