Californian County Votes In Health
Services Measure For Illegal Immigrants
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[June 04, 2014]
BERKELEY Calif. (Reuters) - Voters
in California's Alameda County passed a measure on Tuesday that is
expected to raise $100 million a year for health clinics for illegal
immigrants, who are excluded from state programs and the federal
Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
On May 23 a measure to include illegal immigrants in the state's
Medi-Cal program for the poor to residents who are undocumented
stalled in the state senate, and immigration reform proposals have
also stalled in U.S. Congress for the past year.
The measure extends a 0.5 percent sales tax to fund the clinics to
2034 from 2019.
"Our elected officials, our constituents, and our health authority
see healthcare as a basic human right, to be provided regardless of
immigration status," Alex Briscoe, Director of the Alameda County
Health Care Services Agency, said.
About 7 percent of California's population - 2.6 million people -
are undocumented, and in 2012 the state spent more than $600 million
on emergency room and other health-related services alone for people
living in the state illegally.
Many of those who used the facilities in the past will now be
eligible for insurance under Obamacare or the Medi-Cal program,
leaving a potential funding gap for the clinics that are already
struggling to meet the needs of patients expected to be increasingly
those without documents or health insurance.
Alameda County, which includes the cities of Berkeley and Oakland
east of San Francisco, funds health care services for about 50,000
undocumented residents at the clinics.
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The measure passed by a nearly 3-to-1 margin with all precincts
reporting results early on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Jennifer Chaussee; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and
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