The California Endowment yesterday announced the launch of a series of ads aimed at raising awareness of a large segment of California’s population that will remain uninsured even after the changes of health reform are fully implemented.
Even with Medi-Cal expansion and Covered California enrollment exceeding expectations, a gap in coverage will remain, according to Daniel Zingale, senior vice president at California Endowment.
“It’s an exciting time in California, we are leading the nation in Obamacare,” Zingale said. “But even Obamacare will leave the job unfinished.”
In particular, he said, roughly one million undocumented residents in the state will not have any kind of preventive health care.
“That’s a million people who lack access to coverage and they, too, are part of this state and part of this economy,” Zingale said. “We want to finish the job to connect the remaining uninsured with preventive services.”
The goal of the ad campaign is to use real people to tell the story of undocumented workers, he said.
What to do about the residually uninsured has been an ongoing debate in California but, Zingale said, “What has been missing is the voice of undocumented workers. We want to introduce people to the actual human beings who are affected by this.”
Nationally, efforts to pass immigration reform are stalled. In California, SB 1005 by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), would create the California Health Exchange Program For All Californians, basically a state-only Medi-Cal system governed by the state’s health benefit exchange board.
The ACA specifically excludes undocumented immigrants. Lara’s bill would allow everyone in California below 138% of federal poverty level to access care, regardless of immigration status.
“Good policy begins with a clear understanding of the facts, and there are still a lot of myths that need to be dispelled out there,” Zingale said.
“Good policy also means those most affected need to be part of the conversation and so far they’ve been shut out of the conversation. We hope to include them,” Zingale said.